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Lions shot dead after mauling owner when he entered enclosure

Lions shot dead after mauling owner when he entered enclosure

Three lions were shot and killed after mauling their game lodge owner to death after he tried to fix a broken fence in their enclosure.

Leon van Biljon, 70, known as "The Lion Man", worked closely with two lions, Rambo, Nakita and lioness Katryn at an enclosure in the Mahala View Lion Game Lodge at Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, in South Africa.

He walked into their gated enclosure to mend a broken fence but mistakenly turned his back on the pride.

In an instant, one of the lions pounced on his back and pierced his teeth into the man's neck.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but were unable to reach the victim who was not moving and covered in blood, surrounded by the pride of lions.

The animals were shot dead to allow paramedics to access the enclosure and treat the man who was not moving.

Elderly Leon died from his injuries.

A source at the lodge said: “Leon went in to fix the fence but knows the lions well and turned his back as he was fixing the fence and one came from behind and took his neck.

“There was nothing anyone could have done to save him”.

Animal activists were furious after the three lions were mercilessly shot.

Captive Wildlife Watchdog posted on Facebook: “Yet another death caused by a lion raised by humans in captivity and used as an 'educational tool' for the public.”

Before his tragic death, Mr van Biljon had put the game lodge up for sale at £220,000 so he could retire.

The park is next door to the Dinokeng Game Reserve where famous “Lion Whisperer” Kevin Richardson, 44, keeps his lions which are not free-roaming but “tame”.

A spokesman for Ambu-Link, who attended, said: “We received a call of a lion attack and were told that the patient was unresponsive and that some of the lions had been shot.

“We were told there was a third lion nearby and that was shot to allow access to the patient but he had succumbed to his injuries and he was declared dead by medical personnel”.

A family member at the game lodge said they were too upset to comment.