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North West police have opened an inquest docket after a 36-year-old man was eaten by lions at the Aloe Ridge Lodge in Swartruggens on Tuesday.
Samuel Boosen, who had worked at the lodge for four years, was showing two Indian guests the lions at about 4.30pm on New Year's Day when he opened their enclosure.
Nine lions attacked him and feasted on his remains. Only his skull and the spine were later recovered.
North West provincial police spokesman Lesego Metsi yesterday said no foul play was suspected at the moment.
"According to a witness, Boosen had opened the lions' enclosure and locked himself in it before he was attacked by the animals. We have decided to open an inquest unless other information surfaces," Metsi said.
"At the moment the matter is in the hands of MEC for tourism to either put the lions down or anything he thinks is best."
The provincial department of environment and tourism said it would only comment after receiving a full report from the police and its own investigators.
Six months ago, a nine-year-old boy was attacked by lions in the province. Tshepo Gaerupe was killed by ten lions in a Woodborrow Lion farm near Vryburg.