Boy (11) still in coma after lion attack in Lephalale

Kristian Prinsloo (11), who was attacked by a lion last Saturday. Photos: supplied

POLOKWANE – The young boy who was attacked by a tame three-year-old lion on a luxury estate in Lephalale last Saturday is still in a critical condition.

Kristian Prinsloo (11) was visiting his grandmother, Marie Strydom, where she lives on the estate of two of her friends on the outskirts of Lephalale on the Mogol river bank, when the incident occurred.

The luxury estate owned by Cor and Alet Vos on the banks of the Mogol river near Lephalale where the attack took place.

According to a family member, the lion tried to attack Kristian when Strydom intervened, grabbing the lion and calling for Kristian to run to the room. The lion broke free of her grip and pounced on Kristian before he could get away. Strydom tried to get the lion off of her grandson by pulling back its jaw with her bare hands. She suffered bite marks on her hands and there are 6 cm deep scratch marks on her back. Kristian came off worse and is still in a coma, according to the family member.

On the Sunday following the incident, Netcare 911 Spokesperson Chris Botha said Kristian was airlifted to the Muelmed Mediclinic in Pretoria via helicopter. He sustained severe bite wounds to his neck.

Sanet Dippenaar, Muelmed Mediclinic Spokesperson said: “Kristian is still in ICU, and is breathing with the help of a ventilator. We can confirm that two vertebras have been damaged. Because of the swelling on his brain, doctors have decided against operating at this stage. His youth will count in his favour.”

Dippenaar said Kristian’s parents are traumatised and do not want to speak to the media, and his grandmother stays glued to his bedside.

Owner of the estate, Cor Vos, said he has permits for the three lions he owns and that they are all tame. “You can interact with our lions, they even sleep with my wife and I on our bed. They are used to human interaction,” he said.

He continued, saying lions read your body language and if you don’t show fear, they won’t feel compelled to attack you. “Our lions pounce on us every day, sometimes knocking us off our feet, but they never hurt us.”

He believes Kristian was never in danger. “After what transpired, I doubt we will let them share our bed with us again. I’ll lock them up in their respective cages,” Vos said.

He said he is yet to decide whether to have the lion that attacked Kristian, euthanised.

There are photos and videos of full-grown lions lounging around on a couch in the Vos family’s home on social media.

Cor’s wife, Alet, recorded a video in May 2015 which she shared on Facebook wherein she plays with two lions. In the video, Alet can be heard saying “Another night as a privileged mother of two adolescent lionesses”. The video has more than 15 000 shares on Facebook.

Sam Makhubele, a Department of Environmental Affairs official in Limpopo said: Even though Cor has permits, that does not mean he is allowed to keep them in his home. It is wrong and we will investigate the matter.”

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Mariëtte Roos
Journalist (Bosveld Review)

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