A lion has torn apart and eaten an employee of a game reserve in South Africa after the man took an ill-advised night-time stroll.
The 30-year-old victim, Johannes Matshe, an employee of the reserve, met his gruesome fate while walking through Dinokeng Game Reserve in Gauteng after dark on Sunday night.
At some stage in the night, the big cat pounced on the unsuspecting employee, ripping him limb from limb in a merciless attack.
Stomach-churning images of the grisly scene, which MailOnline has chosen not to publish, showed how the flesh was torn from Matshe’s skull while his boot-clad leg bone lay twisted in the grass.
Reserve spokesman Hartogh Streicher revealed that it was an unfortunate operations manager who stumbled upon the human remains at 10:37 on Monday morning.
Streicher made it clear that wandering the reserve after sunset was strictly forbidden. As he extended condolences to Matshe’s grieving family, he solemnly reminded everyone of the peril facing those who do not abide by the reserve’s safety rules.
‘Lions are nocturnal animals, driven by their natural instinct and hunting patterns, and may perceive a person as a normal prey species,’ he said.
He added that the reserve was seeking out expert advice about handling the lion following the attack.
‘Concerning the management of the lions responsible for this killing, no decision has been reached whether they have become unnaturally dangerous, but the reserve is receiving expert advice to make the most responsible decision possible for all parties concerned.’
He concluded his statement with an impassioned plea to all landowners to keep a watchful eye on their gamekeepers and visitors, reporting any breaches of the rules to prevent a tragic recurrence of the harrowing incident.
The Hammanskraal state police, under the leadership of Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi, have taken charge of the investigation and are trying to understand how and why Matshe entered the reserve alone at night.
This is not the first time that the Dinokeng Game Reserve has witnessed such a gruesome scene.
In 2018, a 22-year-old woman met a similarly horrific end when a lion launched a fatal attack.
She had been accompanying a friend who had gone to interview the camp’s manager when she was pounced upon.
In the wake of that attack, reserve management sought to clarify that the attack had occurred within a restricted conservation zone inaccessible to the general public, and involved a lion that was not part of the reserve’s population of wild, free-roaming lions.
Situated in the northeastern reaches of Gauteng, Dinokeng reserve boasts 19,000 hectares of land and is the only Big Five game reserve in the province.
Big Five is a term used to describe what hunters deem the most dangerous animals to pursue – the African elephant, Cape buffalo, African lion, leopard and rhinoceros.
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This article by David Averre was first published by The Daily Mail on 17 August 2023. Lead Image: A lion is pictured at the Dinokeng Game Reserve in South Africa.