Lion attack: Private game farm owners must be vigilant, says MEC

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Leon van Biljon. (Facebook/Mahala View Lodge)
Leon van Biljon. (Facebook/Mahala View Lodge)

Gauteng Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment MEC Kgosientsho Ramokgopa on Wednesday offered condolences to the loved ones of the man who was killed by lions on a game farm east of Pretoria.

News24 reported on Tuesday that 70-year-old Leon van Biljon was the owner of a number of lions on the farm.

He was attacked while tending to them in their enclosure and was reportedly dead by the time paramedics arrived.

Van Biljon was fixing a broken fence in the enclosure and was presumably sitting with his back to the three lions when one of them grabbed him by his neck, according to Netwerk24.

Following the attack, a number of lions were shot dead by staff members. 

"On behalf of the Gauteng Provincial Government and the broader tourism fraternity in the Gauteng City Region, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased," said Ramokgopa.

"We would like to appeal to all the private game farm owners and workers to exercise caution and total vigilance in their day to day interaction with wild animals. Adherence to safety standards and protocols by everyone involved is non-negotiable as we strive to build a safe and growing visitor economy in the province that creates jobs and memorable visitor experience."

The MEC assured locals and visitors that the province's tourism attractions and experiences remained safe and accessible, despite this incident.

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