The lion which attacked its owner at a private game reserve near Thabazimbi in Limpopo over the weekend was killed during the incident.
Michael Hodge, 72, the owner of Marakele Predator Centre “bottle raised” Shamba since birth. Hodge broke his jaw and sustained injuries to his neck during the attack.
Family spokesperson Bernadette Maguire told News24 on Wednesday morning that Hodge was recovering in hospital, but that he was still traumatised after the incident.
“He is very upset about the loss of Shamba and I think he is trying to put up a brave face, but he is really battling to come to terms [with] what has happened,” Maguire said.
Maguire added that Hodge was able to walk for the first time since the incident with the aid of a physiotherapist at Milpark Hospital.
“The prognosis is looking good, provided that his infection stays under control. His wounds have been left open in order to ensure that the infection does not set into his body.”
She said the family was relieved that Hodge was “okay” but added that they were also traumatised by the loss of Shamba.
The family owned Shamba for 10 years.
In a short video clip, Hodge can be seen walking behind the lion in a den.
The lion quickly spots him and chases him as he runs for a metal gate. The lion then drags him into nearby bushes, where he lies motionless.
An onlooker can be heard crying and screaming: “Somebody help, please! Oh my God!”
Some gunshots can also be heard in the background.
Maguire explained that Hodge was in Shamba’s camp and some tourists were in a vehicle, which had a protective cage.
This was procedure, she said, adding that he usually gets out of the vehicle to open the camp’s gate before they drive out.
“Someone outside the camp will then take Shamba’s attention off so that he walks away from the vehicle and the gate. Mike does this regularly. Shamba mysteriously turned around on Saturday.”
A staff member outside of the camp shot and killed Shamba to save Hodge’s life.
Hodge and his wife are originally from Britain and opened the reserve park in 2010.
Maguire said no form of hunting was permitted at the park.
She said Hodge was aware of the dangers of owning a lion park and that the incident caught him by surprise.[Source: News24]