Wildlife reserve worker ‘torn apart’ by lions as he went on ‘nighttime stroll’

Wildlife reserve worker ‘torn apart’ by lions as he went on ‘nighttime stroll’

A wildlife reserve worker was ripped to shreds by a lion while walking around after dark during the big cat’s hunting time.

Joannes Matshe, 30, who worked at Dinokeng Game Reserve in Gauteng, the province where Johannesburg is situated, was walking through the reserve after dark on Sunday evening when disaster struck.

The vicious creature pounced on him, tearing the flesh from his bones in a relentlessly brutal attack. Images from the scene, which have not been published due to their graphic nature, show how the lion scalped his skin from his skull. His leg bone, also stripped of flesh, was seen poking out of the boot he used to trudge around the sanctuary, reports MailOnline.

An operations manager stumbled on Mr Matshe’s remains at around breakfast-time at 10.37am on Monday morning, according to reserve spokesman Hartogh Streicher. Mr Streicher stressed that employees are strictly prohibited from wandering through the park after sunset.

Mr Streicher extended his condolences to the victim’s family, but used the opportunity to remind people of the dangers of failing to follow the reserve’s safety rules, which are in place because of the feline’s hunting patterns. He said: “Lions are nocturnal animals, driven by their natural instinct and hunting patterns, and may perceive a person as a normal prey species.”

The reserve is now seeking advice as to how they should handle the lion following the attack, in case they have become more or “unnaturally” dangerous. He explained: “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.”

The spokesman then asked local landowners to keep an eye out for any of their workers or visitors and to contact them if they breach the rules. He said this would help prevent similar tragedies from repeating.

Dinokeng Game Reserve, which covers 19,000 hectares of rural Gauteng (Image: Facebook)
Dinokeng Game Reserve, which covers 19,000 hectares of rural Gauteng (Image: Facebook)

Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi, of the Hammanskraal state police, is leading the investigation and looking into why Mr Matshe wanted to be in the park alone at such a dangerous time.

Dinokeng Game Reserve made headlines in 2018 after a woman, 22, who was accompanying a pal who was interviewing the reserve manager, was killed in similar circumstances after being mauled by a lion. Following the horror attack, the managers of the reserve told local media the lion had pounced on her in a conservation zone which can’t be accessed by the general public. They also sought to clarify that the lion in question was not one of theirs.

The Dinokeng reserve is an enormous nature reserve sprawling across 19,000 hectares of land. It’s the only Big Five game reserves in the province. The “Big Five” are the African elephant, African lion, leopard, rhinoceros and Cape Buffalo – which are thought to be the most dangerous animals to pursue.

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This article by Ryan Fahey was first published by The Mirror on 17 August 2023. Lead Image: The reserve manager used the opportunity to warn peole against walking around the park during the lion’s hunting hours ( Image: Getty Images).

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