Cape Town – Only two days after an Australian tourist was
bitten by a lion at the Lion Park in Honeydew, Joburg, a 13-year-old boy was
attacked by a cheetah.
Netwerk24 reports that that the boy who lives in an informal
settlement close by, had been riding his bicycle when the incident happened.
Park manager, Scott Simpson said that the boy had cut through a wire fence and
took a short cut through the park.
An eyewitness, Ilse Burger, told Netwerk24 that she and her
husband were standing in the parking area, when they spotted the boy cycling
and then saw the cheetah run after him.
Within no time the big cat had caught up with the boy and
pounced, knocking him off the bicycle. Two game guides rushed to assist him,
but the cheetah managed to bite him twice before they reached him.
Once the rangers managed to wrestle the animal away, the boy taken to the Lion Park offices where his wounds were treated. He was taken to a hospital in Fourways shortly after.
Even though cheetahs are known to be the most docile of the big cats, often found in petting pens at wildlife experience centres, their natural instincts to chase after moving prey may kick in in these sorts of situations.
Two days before this incident, Brendan Smith from Australia had been attacked by a lion. He admitted that he had only himself to blame, as he had broken park rules by opening his window.
All visitors are given a pamphlet with park rules when they enter, which clearly states that the wild animals are unpredictable and that windows should be kept at least 60% closed at all times. Visitors are not allowed to alight from their vehicles anywhere other than areas indicated on a map provided.
Smith was discharged from hospital on Saturday, and has since gained the moniker 'Lion Man' from Facebook friends.
The boy on the bicycle, who has not been named, had obviously not realised the danger he was putting himself in when he cut through the park.
Simpson said that even though the park is not responsible for the incident, they will carry all medical costs and make sure that the boy heals up.