Following the release of distressing footage of British game park owner Mike Hodge, 67, being mauled by a lion on Monday in Thabazimbi, it has emerged that he survived.
According to UK tabloid The Sun, he relocated from the UK with his wife Chrissy in 2003, and is currently in hospital after sustaining neck and jaw injuries. They, and other titles, published a photo of Hodge recovering in bed.
Hodge and his wife started a lion project in Thabazimbi, which became the Marakele Animal Sanctuary in 2009.
— The Times (@thetimes) May 1, 2018
Speaking to The Sun Online, a friend said Hodge was rushed to the Mediclinic Hospital after the attack.
He was apparently investigating a smell in the lion’s enclosure, which was upsetting the lion, before it attacked him.
“There is no information coming out of the hospital but all I know is that he is alive and his wife and daughter are with him,” the friend reportedly said.
“I do not know how badly hurt he is but he is a lovely guy and I wish him all the best. He is no fool around lions and knows how to interact with them but clearly something went wrong,” she added.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe told News24 the Brit sustained injuries to his neck and jaw but was recuperating.
In the footage, the lion sees Mike after he enters its enclosure and chases him towards the gate. The park owner then gets dragged towards the bushes while onlookers scream and look on in despair.
You can watch the clip below. Please note that it’s not for sensitive viewers.
The animal has reportedly been killed following the attack. Marakele remains closed for now.