Barely a month after a tiger attacked and killed a woman at a Beijing wildlife park, another incident involving big cats occurred. This time the animal attack took place at the Otavi Lion Sanctuary in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Eyewitness News reports the incident happened on Thursday, but the incident places in question the fitness of operators of the Otavi Lion Sanctuary near Parys. It’s because the victim, the child of a farmworker, entered the lion enclosure with one of the park’s workers. The child lived with his guardian, the farm supervisor of the sanctuary, according to Timeslive.
Four Paws, an animal welfare foundation, notes that Otavi’s claims to be a not-for-profit organisation based on its Facebook page. It points out that sanctuaries should not breed, trade or hunt wild animals.
However, “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,” Four Paws claims. It also pushes for no interaction between the animals, park staff and the general public, plus there must be safety measures.
Four Paws South Africa Director Fiona Miles laments, “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 a statement posted on Saturday at Otavi’s Facebook page, Louis Pulzone, CEO of the sanctuary, said that a general worker of Otavi gained unauthorised access to the enclosure keys kept in the lodge’s main office. Besides stealing the keys, the worker abandoned his daily duties and unlocked the gate to a specific lion enclosure, together with the 12-year-old boy.
The two continued walking into the enclosure up to 60 metres where the lions attacked the boy. After the attack, the farm supervisor entered the enclosure to attempt to save the victim. He scared the lions off. The boy was still alive then but barely moving.
The supervisor and administrative assistant called an ambulance but still drove to a hospital. They met the ambulance halfway, transferred the boy who died while on the way to the hospital, Pulzone narrated. He challenged Four Paws to present evidence that Otavi is part of canned lion hunting and breeding.
Pulzone clarifies Otavi is not a lion park and a breeding place for lions since it only has one sexually mature pair, but has four different predators and 11 different game species.
He stresses, “As an individual and a dad myself, I am appalled by the sensation that was created about this without taking a moment to think about the 12 year old boy. I truly hope that we will all take the time to re-look at our actions that surround this tragedy. A 12 year old boy lost his life due to an adult’s stupidity, a true tragedy that will not be forgotten.”
VIDEO: AtoZ Travel and Adventures Winter Special at Otavi Lion Reserve Parys
Source: AtoZ TravelandAdventures