Man re­calls how lion at­tacked him

Res­i­dents live in fear as cat is still at large

Sowetan - - News - By Jeff Wicks and Bon­gani Mthethwa

The scars on Sa­belo Ma­sondo’s chest will be a lin­ger­ing re­minder of the mo­ment he es­caped from the jaws of a lion.

The 27-year-old was at­tacked by the big cat while walk­ing along a dirt road near Emagcekeni vil­lage in Gluck­stadt‚ north­ern KwaZulu-Natal.

The near-fa­tal in­ci­dent con­firmed ru­mours swirling in the area for weeks that a lion had been prowl­ing the veld out­side the vil­lage. While Ma­sondo re­cov­ers‚ the search for the ma­raud­ing preda­tor con­tin­ues.

He said he had been walk­ing along a gravel path last week when he spot­ted the lion.

“It im­me­di­ately darted to­wards me and I quickly ran to a nearby fence‚” Ma­sondo said.

“It grabbed me on the trousers with its paws. My trousers were torn and it bit me with its jaws un­der my armpit be­fore I could man­age to jump over the fence.”

Se­ri­ously wounded and bleed­ing‚ Ma­sondo ran for his life to a nearby home­stead for help. They called the owner of the nearby Mawana Game Re­serve.

“He came and took me to the Gluck­stadt Clinic. From there I was taken to the Vry­heid Hos­pi­tal. I have been in and out of hos­pi­tal and I am go­ing back there on Fri­day,” he said.

Ma­sondo is still com­ing to terms with what hap­pened. “It was the first time that I had ever seen a lion. I only saw it in pic­tures. I am still shaken and afraid‚ even now.”

The self-em­ployed pho­tog­ra­pher‚ who makes a liv­ing by tak­ing pic­tures, said the lion had con­tin­ued up the dirt road after­wards.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesper­son Musa Mn­tambo said their search for the cat had yet to bear fruit.

“We have been search­ing the area where the lion was last seen. We did not suc­ceed‚ so now we are wait­ing for the com­mu­nity to alert us if they see it‚” he said.

Mn­tambo added that sight­ings of the an­i­mal re­vealed that the lion was likely male. “The last area of sight­ing was Gluck­stadt‚” he said.

Any­one who sees the lion should call Ezemvelo KZN field of­fi­cers on 082 708 8860.

“If they see the lion‚ de­pend­ing on the dis­tance‚ they must re­main calm and slowly move back­wards. They must not crouch but try to make them­selves big‚” said Mn­tambo.


Sa­belo Ma­sondo shows the wounds in­flicted on him by a lion.

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