Lions attacked and mauled to death a South African game reserve worker during a late night stroll.
Johannes Matshe, 30, a worker at the Dinokeng Game Reserve in Gauteng, South Africa was attacked by big cats when he took a forbidden walk alone in the night on August 13.
At some point during his stroll, the game reserve staffer was torn apart by several of the park’s protected lions.
Matshe was found the next morning by the operations manager, but his remains were scattered across the ground.
Gruesome photos from the scene showed skin ripped off Matshe’s skull, and the bones of his lower leg still attached to a red Converse high-top shoe.
In a statement on Thursday, spokesman Hartogh Streicher, confirmed the employee’s death and noted that walking through the reserve at night is “strictly forbidden.”
“Lions are nocturnal animals, driven by their natural instinct and hunting patterns, and may perceive a person as a normal prey species,” Streicher added.
In the days following the tragic incident, the game reserve has applied for to euthanize the three lions suspected of the attack.
A statement noted that the decision to put down the lions was made after taking the emotional tragedy suffered by Matshe family into consideration. They also conferred with several subject matter experts to make the choice.
Matshe’s death is just the latest of several South African game reserve workers in the last five years.
21-year-old Swans van Wyke was attacked by lions while working in an animal enclosure at a game reserve in Limpopo in 2020.
She was discovered alive by staffers at the enclosure’s gate with traumatic injuries, when they heard her screaming.
Emergency responders arrived on scene to treat her deep gashes and bite wounds, but she died at the reserve, despite the extraordinary measures.
The year before, “Lion Man,” 70-year-old game lodge owner, Leon van Biljon, was mauled to death by three of his lions, while he attempted to fix a broken fence in their enclosure.
In both instances, the lions involved in the attacks were euthanized.