A family outing went awry when a woman was viciously attacked by a “tame” cheetah at Mbidi Lodge, near Loskop Dam, in Mpumalanga.
The incident happened when Tanya Laubscher-Swanepoel and her three sons visited the lodge last week. Laubscher-Swanepoel said she was was petting one of the near-tame cheetahs when the cat suddenly became aggressive, Lowvelder reported.
“When I stood up he jumped towards me and tried to bite my face. Luckily, I pulled away in time, and he lightly bit the side of my chest,” she said.
One of the staff tried to pull the animal away from her, but it had already hooked its claw into her left calf, pulling her closer as it bit her lower leg.
“His mouth locked around my leg and the employees tried to restrain him, but he would not let go. I thought I was going to lose my leg,” she said.
The cheetah only released Laubscher-Swanepoel from its grip after staff sprayed it with a fire extinguisher. She was then rushed to hospital.
Mbidi management said the incident was the first of its kind, adding the cheetah had been at the lodge for five years.
“Unfortunately,[the cheetah] will always remain a wild animal. That is why we let all the visitors sign a consent form before they interact with him,” management said.
In a similar accident, a 70-year-old woman was viciously mauled by a cheetah a day before a 10-year old boy was also attacked by one at the Kwa Cheetah Breeding Project near Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, in August.
The woman was reportedly inside the enclosure with the animals, other tourists and a guide when she was attacked. She suffered severe bites to the upper body and a broken hip.
A day later, another cheetah reportedly managed to force itself through a game fence and locked on to the 10-year-old boy’s backpack during a school trip.
Kwa Cheetah staff managed to loosen the animal’s “grip of death” by inserting their fingers into its nose, shocking the animal into releasing the boy. The child was injured on his left shoulder and was immediately treated for the injuries.
– Caxton News Service