Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

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Local rockers pledge to keep our carnivores Wild ‘n Free – will you?

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:00 pm

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8 August 2018

n the build up to World Lion Day on 10 August, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), a champion of conservation in Africa, has launched an exciting new project, entitled Wild ‘n Free. Through this initiative, the EWT is calling on all South Africans to be the voice for the voiceless and join the fight against keeping carnivores in captivity for petting, walking-with, photo-tourism, captive hunting and the trade in their body parts. Members of the public unwittingly play an enormous role in an industry that thrives off keeping carnivores like Lions, Cheetah, Leopards and African Wild Dogs behind bars, often for nefarious reasons. Local artists WONDERboom, who were recently announced as the opening act for Guns N’ Roses’ South African tour, are among the first to show their support for this campaign, and are calling on others to do the same. If you stop the visits, you stop the exploitation.

In recent years, South Africa has seen a rapid increase in so-called predator or wildlife parks, which are most often part of the industrial scale production of carnivores for commercial purposes. This is particularly prominent for Lions and Cheetahs. Wild ‘n Free aims to keep carnivores where they belong – in the wild – by promoting the value and role of wild carnivores in natural free-living conditions.

A Wild ‘n Free environment is one in which large carnivores are not reliant on humans for their daily needs, are free to use open space and hunt prey naturally, and can carry out natural social behaviours like mating, holding territories and interacting with competitors. This ensures that they are functional components of a natural system. By keeping our carnivores Wild ‘n Free, we are also conserving larger tracts of land and hundreds of other species of plants and animals, keeping food webs intact. Wild carnivores are the icons of Africa, and attract millions of tourists and their foreign revenue and associated benefits to our country every year. South Africa is the only country in Africa that has a thriving industry of commercial carnivore production, which has tainted our image as a global conservation leader and ecotourism destination. There is no conservation value to be derived from this industry and it is up to all South Africans and visitors to our beautiful country to instead, stand up for our Wild ‘n Free natural heritage.

We’re calling on everyone to take the Wild ‘n Free pledge: “I pledge to keep all carnivores Wild ‘n Free by not petting, walking, feeding or taking selfies with them. I vow to become an ambassador for wild carnivores and to honour their right to live a natural life. I encourage others to do the same.” Pledge cards can be downloaded and shared to social media to show support for this campaign.As WONDERboom’s lead singer, Cito, explains, “The more we find out the truth behind these commercial wildlife parks and canned hunting facilities, the more we should stand together, in solidarity, and boycott them. Any international visitor will tell you how blessed South Africa is to have the wildlife we have, in its natural habitat. I pledge to not support any of these facilities and I publicly condemn such businesses. We have the choice and power to make a difference in SA's wildlife welfare.”

The project is focusing on three key themes:

Wild ‘n Free Space
This theme addresses the need for carnivores to have safe space to meet their biological needs. Under this theme, we actively find new space for wild carnivores through reintroduction projects that directly improve their conservation status. As a result of these interventions, there are currently 351 more Cheetahs on 1.15 million ha of Wild ‘n Free space and 227 more Wild Dogs on 584,000 ha of Wild ‘n Free space in South Africa. These reintroductions are expanding to other countries like Malawi and Mozambique, ensuring that Wild ‘n Free space is not confined by political or geographic boundaries.
We also work with farmers to implement ways in which livestock production can be done in harmony with carnivores, for example by providing livestock guarding dogs that protect livestock from predation, removing the need for the farmer to shoot carnivores. We have 197 livestock guarding dogs actively guarding livestock and making 500,000 ha of farmland safe and Wild ‘n Free for carnivores. This also makes farming more profitable and ecologically sustainable.

Wild ‘n Free Animals

This theme addresses the need for carnivores to be valued (both aesthetically and financially) in the wild, not in cages. Under this theme, we promote the need for carnivores to be Wild ‘n Free, and are working with the tourism industry to ensure that Wild ‘n Free destinations and activities are promoted. We are very proud of the Waterberg Wild Dog Tourism Project that generates tourism revenue for landowners who live in harmony with Wild Dogs in Limpopo. Find out more about this ground-breaking project and see the pups at the den at www.waterbergwilddogs.com.

Wild ‘n Free Legislation

This theme addresses the need for legislation that promotes wild carnivores and effectively regulates and ensures compliance of captive facilities. Under this theme, we drive legislative reform and promote compliance to current legislation. We contribute to and drive processes to guide effective legislation to regulate captive carnivores more effectively and promote Wild ‘n Free. We are leading discussions to review what is considered sustainable use in light of captive breeding of Lions for the parts.

Dr Kelly Marnewick, Senior Trade Officer and lead on this project, says: “This project will be a success when carnivores are valued by society in a Wild ‘n Free environment, with no commercial demand for captive animals or their body parts. Wild carnivores play an integral role in nature, where they contribute to conservation and are not vulnerable to exploitation. They do not belong behind bars.”

Read the EWT’s full perspective on captive carnivores here.
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Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:46 am

PROJECT NEWS

In recent years, South Africa has seen a rapid increase in so-called predator or wildlife parks, which are most often part of the industrial scale production of carnivores for commercial purposes. This is particularly prominent for Lions and Cheetahs. With this in mind, and in an extension of our ongoing work to fight this exploitation, the EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust) has launched an exciting new project, entitled Wild ‘n Free. Wild ‘n Free aims to keep carnivores where they belong – in the wild – by promoting the value and role of wild carnivores in natural free-living conditions.

Through this initiative, the EWT is calling on all South Africans to be the voice for the voiceless and join the fight against keeping carnivores in captivity for petting, walking-with, photo-tourism, captive hunting and the trade in their body parts. Members of the public unwittingly play an enormous role in an industry that thrives off keeping carnivores like Lions, Cheetah, Leopards and African Wild Dogs behind bars, often for nefarious reasons. If you stop the visits, you stop the exploitation.

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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:40 am

Social media’s role in advertising illegal wildlife trade, including cheetah trafficking

September 28th 2018 - Press release from Cheetah Conservation Fund

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Eight cheetahs were seized in two raids in Somaliland in August © Cheetah Conservation Fund

An analysis of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) research establishes that dozens of cheetahs are being advertised for sale each year via popular social media platforms. Further, it infers the Internet’s role in driving the trade of cheetahs is prominent, and engaging social media companies should be part of any solution. The analysis, which covers the period between January 2012 and June 2018, aims to determine the extent to which illegal cheetah trade exists online and to document the most relevant threats.

Cheetahs are listed under Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). This means trade in wild-born cheetahs is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. However, CCF data analysis shows that 1,367 documented cheetahs were offered for sale through 906 adverts, which is approximately one-fifth (20%) of the world’s remaining wild cheetah population. Cheetahs are on a swift decline, dropping from an estimated 100,000 individuals a century ago to fewer than 7,500 today.

The most utilised platforms are Instagram, 4Sale (a mobile app) and YouTube, comprising fifteen countries. However, the Gulf Cooperation Council accounted for over 90% of the adverts, with Saudi Arabia totalling more than 60% of those. The analysis focused on the three top sellers, all of whom are based in Saudi Arabia and posted 20% of all adverts. Of these sellers, one alone accounted for 12% of all adverts analysed and was found to offer multiple species that include lions, tigers, jaguars, wolves, gibbons and chimpanzee.

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These two cheetah cubs, kept in appalling conditions, were confiscated in Somaliland © Cheetah Conservation Fund

“The illegal trade in live cheetahs impacts the smaller, fragmented populations in East Africa most. Mitigating the threat requires a concerted effort by governments to not only to confiscate the animals, but to embark on a major awareness campaigns to reduce demand for endangered species as pets”, said Dr Laurie Marker, CCF Founder and Executive Director. “Already vulnerable cheetah populations, particularly those in Ethiopia and Somalia, are at risk of local extinction because of poaching for the illegal pet trade”.

CCF estimates put the number of smuggled cheetahs out of East Africa at 300 per year. Many more die before being shipped to the Middle East.

“CCF maintains a ‘safe house’ in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, where a team of animal keepers are caring for eleven confiscated cheetahs. Eight were confiscated within a three-week period, and two were just three-weeks-old when intercepted. One of the youngest died a few days after confiscation”, said Patricia Tricorache, CCF’s Assistant Director of Illegal Wildlife Trade.

CCF has been working to counter poaching and trafficking since 2005. Since 2011, CCF has assisted the Somaliland government with the surrender or confiscation of 50 cheetahs. On 28 August, a landmark victory was achieved in Somaliland courts when two subjects charged with wildlife trafficking were sentenced to three years in prison and fined $300 USD and their vehicle seized – the first conviction for illegal cheetah trade in Somaliland.

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Dr Laurie Marker with the surviving cheetah cub rescued from poachers in Somaliland © Cheetah Conservation Fund

About CCF

Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in the research and conservation of cheetahs. Founded in Namibia in 1990, CCF maintains a research programme studying the biology, ecology and genetics of the cheetah and operates the only fully-equipped genetics laboratory at an in-situ conservation site in Africa. CCF has created a set of integrated programmes based on this research that address threats to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations. CCF operates from the principal that only by securing the future of the communities that live alongside the cheetah can you secure a future for the species.
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:25 pm

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As the end of the year draws closer, many of us may be starting to consider our holiday plans. If you’re thinking about taking the family or those overseas visitors to your local ‘animal sanctuary’, where interactions with captive carnivores are offered, please think again. Our #WildnFree campaign is still in full force, and for good reason! Unless we stop the visits, we will never stop the exploitation of these animals. There are also some interesting statistics, shared in the below infographics, that should give all visitors to these facilities pause for thought. Along with the very real concerns related to the future of any captive carnivore, the statistics captured in this infographic serve to highlight the significant risks posed by interactions between humans and these animals, and it is worrying that despite this, the sector remains ineffectively regulated. Captive carnivores have likely lost their innate fear of humans, and interactions with these animals are dangerous. So be sure to make the responsible choice. Take the pledge to keep them #WildnFree by visiting www.ewt.org.za

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While we’re chatting about holiday plans, we’re also heading into that time of year when fireworks usage tends to sky rocket, if you’ll pardon the pun. Please remember that whatever the occasion, fireworks frighten the life out of us wild creatures too! We urge everyone to show compassion and consider that all animals, domestic and wild, are at risk when it comes to the effects of fireworks and crackers. These loud noises cause terrified animals to flee from their dens and nests, with disoriented birds often flying into buildings and becoming injured, and ground animals being hit by cars should their attempt to escape the noise take them onto roads. Many young birds and mammals are also orphaned during this time of year, leaving them unable to fend for themselves. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s just not worth it.

‘Til next time
Mwitu
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:32 pm

One of Africa's largest operators pledges against wildlife exploitation in tourism

2018-12-04 14:00

n yet another push towards ethical and sustainable tourism, Thompsons Africa has signed the 'Born to Live Wild' pledge.

The global leader in travel and tourism, dedicated the entire day to watching the award winning feature documentary, Blood Lions, with over 100 employees in attendance - and then committed to signing the pledge not to support exploitative wildlife interactive tourism.

Blood Lions, together with key partners around the world, have made great strides in their efforts to raise global awareness around captive lion breeding, ‘canned’ (captive) hunting and the lion bone trade to Asia. Upholding the values of responsible tourism, Thompsons Africa’s pledge formalises their stance against these activities.

"We are very proud to partner with Blood Lions in creating awareness around the canned hunting industry. It is important that our people understand why we say no to our customers when they request experiences involving walking with lions, cub petting and other forms of animal interactions.

"Tourism in South Africa is about our wildlife and nature and we want to keep it that way! We want generations of families from all over the world to continue to see our wonderful wildlife in their natural habitat… not caged or being handled by hundreds of people each day. We pledge our support to the Blood Lions campaign and we pledge to continue to create awareness in holding up the values of sustainable tourism," says Alessandra Alleman, CEO Thompsons Africa.

Thompsons Africa support Blood Lions and its aims and acknowledge the following:

- The established predator research and scientific community do not recognize any of the breeders or operating facilities as having conservation merit.
- In marketing themselves as breeding facilities, these entities confuse the conservation messages and priorities, specifically with lions, which in turn results in a misdirection of vital funding that negatively impacts wild lion populations.
- There is sufficient evidence to show that their activities put additional pressure on wild lion populations: intensive breeders have illegally acquired new genetic stock from the wild, and the burgeoning lion bone trade remains a risk because of an illegal demand for bones from wild lions.
- We are deeply concerned about the welfare conditions of the animals kept in these facilities.
- Canned hunting does not reduce the hunting pressure on wild lions and is unethical.
Furthermore, Thompsons Africa commit to the following:
- To not knowingly book or otherwise support any breeder or operator that contributes to the cycle of breeding, exploitation and senseless killing of predators. This includes all petting and ‘walking with lion’ facilities.
- To continue our support and promotion of the formal conservation community in their endeavours to secure the survival of Africa’s predators in the wild. Without wild lions and the rest of the predator guild extant in functioning ecosystems, there will be no African tourism industry; a calamitous situation for many economies.
- To continue in our own endeavours towards wildlife conservation and economic development wherever we operate across Africa.
- To continue supporting an ethical and responsible interaction with Africa’s wilderness and wild animals.
- To continue promoting Africa as an authentic, wild and rewarding tourism destination.

“To have one of the largest tourism operators in Africa stand behind the ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge and commit to promoting ethical and responsible tourism in South Africa is a huge step forward for the industry. We commend Thompsons Africa for pledging against these exploitative wildlife activities. Blood Lions is proud to partner with them in this campaign.” says Pippa Hankinson, Blood Lions Producer.
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:59 am

'These practices have gone unregulated for too long': The crucial stance SA needs to take on animal encounters

2019-04-25 06:30 - Selene Brophy

Enriching experiences, lasting memories and itineraries that benefit not only the traveller but the communities that serve them - this are the responsible-tourism order of the day.

As a result, the contentious issue of animal interactions continues to be weigh heavily across South Africa's travel and tourism landscape. A topic of debate for a number of years, especially with SA's rich Big Five heritage and how wildlife acts as a draw-card to our destination. Now the issue is again being raised by Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA).

“The voice against tourism experiences that include animal interactions has grown louder and louder and this has impacted on how South Africa is being perceived as a tourism destination,” says Keira Powers, Chairperson of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) Animal Interaction Committee.

SATSA is in the process of conducting national public consultations workshop, as part of its Animal interactions study -click here to see the online survey - before it closes on 30 April.

“SATSA has been tasked by its members to develop guidelines for animal interactions in tourism. The Animal Interaction research is member mandated, board approved and being run in partnership with South African Tourism.” adds Powers

This follows two months in which they hosted ten workshops across the country. The consultation phase is now moving online with the workshop content available at this link. Click here to view the content.

"We would like to encourage all interested parties to watch our video and to then complete a questionnaire providing feedback and suggestions."

SATSA’s says it remains an impartial arbiter of the process as it seeks an ethics-based solution by conducting the study.

Commenting in response to consultation process Blood Lions, who has been championing the ill-effect of canned lion hunting and lion cub petty in South Africa and globally, commended SATSA for beginning a discussion on the exploitative use of wildlife within the wider tourism industry.

"These practices have gone unregulated for too long. This has enabled a lucrative industry, encompassing the intensive breeding of wildlife for various commercial activities such as 'cub petting', 'walking with lions' and interactive filming, to establish itself on a host of facilities across South Africa.

Blood Lions says "while guidelines are a good start, the organisation is still calling for a complete ban on the use of wildlife for entertainment and human or wildlife interactions".

"If South Africa is to market itself as being responsible and ethical while offering truly authentic wildlife tourism experiences, then our policies must reflect this. And we trust that the input of the legitimate scientific, conservation, welfare and education community will direct such policies."

In a recent post travel writer Anje Rautenbach states, "Unfortunately society has put a price on animals, their worth and how we can use that in favour of our desires; if you pay R150 you can see an elephant in the wild, if you pay R250 you can pet the elephant but bonus, if you pay R400 you can ride it. Why do we have this sick god-like complex to be in control?

"One often engage in conversations with people that shock you into the realisation that not everyone is yet aware of the cruelty that goes on in the animal entertainment industry. You often find that your beliefs from 2010, is still someone’s opinion and an animal’s reality in 2019. You realise that talking about the impact of elephant back rides and interaction, talking about interacting with wild animals (cheetah petting, walking with lions etc.) is not a once-off conversation but rather a conversation that should continue and echo into foreve.

SATSA says, "The information acquired from the workshops and this questionnaire, along with further research (including analysis of legislation and regulations, consultation with key organisations, market and trends assessments among others) will be used to develop guidelines for animal interactions in tourism.

A draft will then be shared for public comment.
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Thu May 16, 2019 11:45 am

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Latest injuries a stark reminder of the need to end captive carnivore interactions

16 May 2019


The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is shocked and saddened that yet another child has been badly injured while interacting with carnivores at a captive carnivore facility. For over a decade, the EWT has been calling for an end to tourist interactions with captive carnivores and, as recently as May 2018, wrote an open letter to then-Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, lobbying for these kinds of facilities to be closed down. Our concerns include serious welfare issues, that these facilities offer no conservation value, and pose risks to public safety.

Captive breeding does not address any of the key threats carnivores face in the wild, and there is no conservation requirement or recommendation for any captive breeding or keeping of carnivores in South Africa. In 2018, the EWT and the Centre for Environmental Rights published a report funded by the Lewis Foundation, which addressed in detail the flaws in the regulatory system around wildlife wellbeing and welfare. Cruelty cases continue to be opened against captive facilities across South Africa and the EWT will continue to call for the welfare of species in captivity to be properly addressed. In addition to serious flaws in the regulation of captive facilities, the operations of most of these facilities fail to take into account the natural social structures of carnivores (for example, that Lions occur naturally in prides, while Cheetahs are naturally solitary), and fail to provide proper enrichment and living conditions for the captive carnivores. Further, the continuous handling of captive carnivores by multiple people results in stress for the cubs, who should naturally be spending large portions of their days sleeping or playing with their siblings.

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Shutterstock image

In addition to the numerous conservation and animal welfare concerns presented by captive carnivore facilities, it remains tragically evident that there are also serious human safety issues to be considered. At the time of our writing to Minister Molewa, in May 2018, at least 40 people had been injured – or worse, killed – at South African captive carnivore facilities since 1996. These incidents have continued unabated over the past year, with the latest case at Weltevrede Lion Farm not being an isolated event. Indeed, despite the facility describing it as a “freak accident” in media reports, it is the second incident at the same facility in the space of just one week. Two sisters were also injured at this lion park in 2010.

Little Dina-Marie de Beer is sadly not the only child to have been injured by captive carnivores. Of the incidents that the EWT is aware of, 11 of the victims have been children, and two of these children have died as a result of their injuries. If our government continues to fail to take action and close these facilities down, the responsible choice is to keep our children safe and stop supporting predator parks or ‘sanctuaries’ that offer captive carnivore interactions.

There is no justifiable rationale for the public to be interacting with carnivores in captivity, risking people’s lives. The EWT once again strongly calls for government to do the right thing and put an end to these activities, and for members of the public to take the Wild ‘n Free pledge and avoid these facilities.

The Wild ‘n Free pledge: "I pledge to keep all carnivores Wild ‘n Free by not petting, walking, feeding or taking selfies with them. I vow to become an ambassador for wild carnivores and to honour their right to live a natural life. I encourage others to do the same."
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Richprins » Thu May 16, 2019 5:11 pm

Hmmmm....40 incidents in 23 years. Accidents happen. -O-
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Thu May 16, 2019 8:18 pm

That is not really the point. It is the tragic end of these animals when they grow up, that is so terrible :evil:
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Mon May 20, 2019 7:42 am

'We warn people, but they don't listen,' says lion farm where toddler's scalp was ripped off

2019-05-20 06:09
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The lion farm where a little girl's scalp was ripped off last week has put the blame for such incidents squarely on visitors who "don't listen", Sunday newspaper Rapport reported.

The 4-year-old girl was in a critical condition after being attacked by a lioness at Weltevrede Lion Farm in Heilbron on Sunday, May 12, News24 reported.

A part of Dina-Marie de Beer's skull was removed the following day to relieve pressure on her brain.

According to Netwerk24, Dina-Marie was in her father's arms when they were attacked through the fence of a bordering camp.

The juvenile lioness reportedly got hold of het father, Pieter, who sustained minor injuries, but Dina-Marie's scalp was ripped off and her skull was penetrated by the lion's claw.

Another visitor, Lewis de Jager, sustained minor injuries when he, too, was attacked through a fence while holding his daughter a few days before the attack on Dina-Marie.

A picture on Facebook shows De Jager holding his daughter with the lion behind them, a split-second before pouncing.

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A lion moments before attacking Lewis de Jager through a fence. (Facebook)

The owner of Weltevrede, Nico Roets, told Rapport that visitors are constantly warned about the dangers, but that they "don't listen".

'They think a lion is a toy'

"We warn them, but they still think a lion is a toy," Roets reportedly said.

Charlene van Wyk, the lion farm's manager, told Rapport that representatives of the Department of Environmental Affairs visited the farm on Tuesday and could find nothing wrong [with its security measures].

"None of our permits were withdrawn," Van Wyk reportedly said.

"The guide who accompanied De Beer warned him twice that the lion was behind him," Roets reportedly said.

"Too many people take cellphone picture and don't keep an eye on the animals. These are wild animals and can hurt you."

Many warning signs

On Wednesday, Weltevrede posted more than 10 pictures of warning signs on its property on its Facebook page. "Please remember, these are wild animals," one reads. Another states, in Afrikaans: "STOP. Premises entered at own risk. Do you want to go ahead?"

Late on Sunday, the lion farm posted the following message: "We would like to inform that we [are] no longer going to give any comments to the media, due to [the fact] that the truth gets turned into sensation to sell more newspapers.

"Our prayers go out to [Dina-Marie] and her family [who were affected] by the incident. We wish her well and hope for a full recovery."


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A sign at Weltevrede Lion Farm. (Facebook)

In January 2010, two sisters were attacked by lionesses at the Weltevrede Lion Farm, Sapa reported at the time.

The youngest girl bent down to pet one of the lions, when an 8-month-old lioness jumped on her from behind and got hold of her ponytail.

Another lioness bit the older sister on her buttocks while her mother was carrying her on her hip. The children were reportedly treated for light injuries at the Midvaal Hospital in Vereeniging.

Weltevrede Lion Farm is the same location where a video of a hyena cackling with joy while being tickled that went viral on social media, was recorded in 2016, Business Insider reported.

Other attacks

In April, 55-year-old Pieter Nortjé was severely injured when he was bitten on the arm while trying to stroke a lioness at a lodge in Virginia, Free State, Netwerk24 reported.

In May last year, a lion that attacked its owner at a private game reserve near Thabazimbi in Limpopo was shot dead, News24 reported.

Michael Hodge, 72, the owner of Marakele Predator Centre "bottle raised" the lion, Shamba since birth. Hodge broke his jaw and sustained injuries to his neck during the attack.

In February last year, a 22-year-old woman was attacked and mauled to death by a lion at the Dinokeng Game Reserve in Hammanskraal, News24 reported.
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