“Unexpectedly and unfortunately‚ the male lion returned and beared down on Mike who retreated – running towards the vehicle‚” the family said in a statement.
The lion dragged Hodge from the vehicle and the lion was fatally injured in the ensuing attempt to save Hodge.
Hodge’s wife and partner in the project Chrissy was in town during the incident and daughter Emma was at the main gate.
“Mike was rushed to the local hospital and stabilised before being airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital. He has a broken jaw and several lacerations‚ but is recovering well‚” Chrissy said. She said her husband’s recovery process would be long and arduous.
She said this had been a double tragedy for the family. “The entire family is devastated by the loss of Shamba‚” Chrissy said.
The family moved to South Africa from the UK 30 years ago and opened the sanctuary to the public in 2010.
The family have asked for privacy during this traumatic time.
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