Man killed by lions at Pretoria game reserve

Paramedics said the man was attacked by his three lions in their enclosure.

FILE: A lion at the Dinokeng Game Reserve. Picture: dinokengreserve.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - A man was killed by a lions at the Dinokeng Game Reserve, north of Pretoria.

Paramedics said Leon van Biljon, also known as the lion man, was attacked by his three lions in their enclosure on Tuesday.

“The ambulance personnel arrived moments later only to declare him dead. I don't know what transpired before they arrived,” said Best Care emergency services' spokesperson Xander Loubser.

Rangers then shot and killed the animals in their enclosure, so they could get to Biljion, and the game reserve closed after the fatal attack.

Police spokesperson Connie Moganedi said they were investigating the circumstances of the attack.

“The caretaker allegedly saw the owner dragged by two animals inside the cage and he screamed for help. People came and tried to rescue the victim but unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries.”

'TRAGIC'

Management at the Dinokeng Game Reserve has described the attack as tragic.

Dinokeng’s chairperson Richard Lydall said the killing of the animals was unfortunate.

“It’s not fair and it’s heartbreaking. Unfortunately, there are situations sometimes that when a lion was involved with humans, some tough decisions have to be made. It’s not right and it’s sad.”

The game reserve will reopen on Wednesday.