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Operations at Parys lion 'sanctuary' questioned after fatal mauling

A farmworker's child was mauled to death by a lion at the facility on Thursday.

Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - Animal welfare foundation Four Paws has questioned whether the Otavi Lion Sanctury near Parys should still be allowed to operate after a child was mauled to death by a lion on Thursday.

The organisation says it's confirmed the incident involving a farmworker's child with police.

It is believed the boy was killed when he entered a lion enclosure with one of the employees.

Referring to Otavi as a 'self-proclaimed' sanctuary, Four Paws says the sanctuary's Facebook page indicates that they are a not for profit organisation.

The organisation has expressed condolences to the family in a statement.

"A sanctuary is defined as a facility that does not breed, trade or hunt wild animals. Otavi openly offers captive bred lions for sale online. A true sanctuary will not sell cubs, as all the animals should be sterilised to prevent breeding."

It also insists that a sanctuary would also not allow any interaction between the animals and their workers or the general public, and have safety measures in place.

"It is a sad fact that there are around 250 farms in South Africa housing between 6,000 and 9,000 lions for the canned hunting industry. Furthermore their online presence offers hunting packages."

Fiona Miles, director at Four Paws South Africa says: "We believe that after full investigation by the authorities, the full measure of the law should be used to deal with the matter to ensure that the authorities set the tone for zero tolerance of such terrible losses.

"It is bad enough that the other victims of the captive breeding industry are already destined to die legally at the hands of hunters and traders but now innocent children too.

"In terms of the Animal Matters Amendment Act no 42 of 1993, the owner of the property may be held responsible and charged by the police. In addition to this charge, Section 2 (b) could be applied and the owner be declared unfit to own lions."

Four Paws has appealed to all South Africans and tourists to the country to call on the South African government to put an end to the canned hunting industry.

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