Here is a copy of the media release that has just been issued:
KNP TRAILS RANGER ATTACKED BY LION
A trails ranger working in the Kruger National Park (KNP) was attacked by a lion this morning (Friday October 10, 2008) during a bush walk.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his wife and family and we will do everything in our ability to support him during this time,” said Dr Bandile Mkhize, the KNP’s Managing Executive.
The incident happened just after 08:00 this morning near the Metsi-Metsi Wilderness Trails Camp, situated near Tshokwane Picnic Site north of Skukuza Rest Camp while the group was returning to the camp from a trail.
About two kilometres away from the vehicle, the group encountered a lioness. The trails ranger noticed that the lioness had cubs with her, and decided to give the feline a wide berth. The lioness continued to advance towards the group and the ranger fired off two warning shots.
The lioness then attacked the trails ranger, mauling him and biting both his forearms and scratching him on various parts of his face and body, before eventually letting go and running away.
Calls were then made to Skukuza and a helicopter with the KNP’s medical doctor on board, Dr Pieter Oodendal, was dispatched to the scene to provide further medical attention to the trails ranger, Mr Rudi Lorist. He was then flown to Nelspruit Medi Clinic where he has been admitted.
There were eight tourists and an assistant trails ranger Mr Phillip Gumede with him at the time of the incident. One of the tourists was a doctor and administered first aid to Mr Lorist until the KNP doctor arrived on the scene. All the tourists are safe and will continue with the activity.
Local section and field rangers, who were busy fighting a bush fire caused by lightning at the time of the attack, have been tasked to try and find the lion, but so far they have not succeeded.
Lorist is an experienced trails ranger with more than seven years’ experience walking trails in the KNP.
Guest feedback for him has included:
“I thought it appropriate to let you know that all of us have spoken about the quality of leadership and maturity that Rudi showed throughout our trail, and not just his technical “bush” knowledge, but importantly in his role, his all round personality outside of the pure KNP domain. We thoroughly enjoyed his company and learnt so much from him. Rudi is a wonderful advert for the KNP brand and clearly has a mutually excellent relationship with Phillip. You can be truly proud of these men.” – Feedback from one of Metsi-Metsi Wilderness Trail’s previous guests.
KNP Wilderness Trails have been operating for 30 years without any animal-caused fatalities and very few serious injuries.
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communication, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: email@example.com