A female tourist believed to be an American has died after she was attacked by a lion at the Lion Park in the Lanseria/Honeydew area of Johannesburg,South Africa, on Monday.
Sources say another male tourist was injured and the pair may have been driving with their car window open when the unfortunate incident occurred.
Scott Simpson, assistant operations manager at the Lion Park, confirmed that a woman and a man were driving in the lion camp with windows open.
One of the lions jumped through the passenger window and bit the woman. The man was injured trying to push the lion off the woman.
“Our staff working at the top of the camp tried to get the lion away from the car. Ambulances were called immediately but it was too late,” he said.
Simpson added that visitors to the park are usually given plenty of warning not to leave their windows open.
“We make it so clear. We put signage up everywhere that people must keep their windows closed. We hand them a slip of paper when they enter the park,
I really don’t understand why people think its okay to leave windows open,” he said.
However it is not clear whether the animal will now have to be put down. This is the third attack at the park in the past four months.
On March 30, this year, Brenan Smith, an Australian tourist posted images on Facebook of a lion attacking him at the park. He however admitted that he left his window open.
A lion jumped through and attacked him. Two days after that, a 13-year-old boy was attacked by a Cheetah.
The boy was reportedly riding his bicycle and cut through the wire fence to take a shortcut through the park.
The park’s location near Johannesburg makes it an easy destination for many tourists who are in town for a short time attending a conference or business meetings.
The lions are kept in large fenced-off enclosures which visitors can drive through themselves.
The official South African tourism website describes the park as a “hybrid between a zoo and a game reserve,” while the Lion Park’s website says “super close-up animal views” are guaranteed.
Cheetahs, spotted Hyenas and Giraffes are also in the park reputed as one of the region’s most popular destinations, attracting tourists from around the world.
Previous high-profile visitors have reportedly included Colombian singer, Shakira, Hollywood actress Natalie Portman, as well as the entire German football team before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.