A 55-year-old man has been left seriously injured after attempting to pet a caged lion in South Africa.
Pieter Nortje, a mechanic from Bloemfontein, was participating in a guided tour of the lions alongside his wife Ilze, when the incident took place.
The couple had been staying at Tikwe River Lodge, a game lodge in Virginia, Free State Province in celebration of their ten year anniversary.
Horrifying video footage of Pieter being bitten by a lioness was captured by Ilze, and has since been widely shared online.
The video begins with Pieter stroking the back of an adult male lion’s back through a wire fence, even giving it a tickle behind the ear.
In a joke which now sounds ominous in retrospect, Pieter can be heard to jest:
If you bite me, then I’m going to bite you back.
It’s at this point a young lioness walks over, leading Pieter to say, ‘Come here lovey, let daddy stroke you’ while waving his arm through the fence.
The lioness then proceeds to sink her teeth into Pieter’s forearm, biting him down to the bone. Peter is pulled towards the fence, with the lioness slashing at his arm with her claws.
Ilze can be heard screaming in panic throughout the attack, shouting, ‘It’s biting him, it’s biting him!’
The lioness can then be seen to eventually release Pieter’s bloodied arm, after biting it for a full five seconds.
As reported by Netwerk24, Pieter was rushed to Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein, where he’s said to be in a serious condition and suffering from septic shock.
The lion did not attack,its in its nature to bite.
— msizi mathobela (@MathobelaMsiziK) April 12, 2019
As reported by the MailOnline, a spokesperson for the Tikwe River Lodge has stated the lodge is not responsible for the attack:
There are warning signs everywhere. Nortje stuck his hand through the electric fence to touch the lions and was bitten.
A game ranger from another park in South Africa commented:
The man was lucky that the lioness was probably not hungry or not used to killing live prey outside in the wild.
Lions are pack animals and hunt as a team so others in the enclosure could easily have joined in and if they had done [they would have] killed him whether there was a fence between them or not.
Some people never learn that where wild animals are concerned, keep a distance between them and you.
Wild animals are just that…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.