KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

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Richprins

Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by Richprins »

Don't want to rock the boat, but as I understand it the lioness should never even have got close...

Two warning shots should be followed by the guns (fortunately two in this case) being kept trained on the animal in question.

As a traillist I would have liked her to be killed immediately once she continued to approach! :shock:

NUMEROUS animals have been killed on trails, as a "safety first" option, which makes sense to me... :?

Consider the other option of tourists getting killed... :evil:

Just my opinion, and Good Luck Rudi!

Anyway, here's today's media report:

Lion fighter tells tale
by: André Bakkes
10/17/2008 9:54:00 AM
NELSPRUIT - His life never flashed before his eyes. On the other hand, the faces of his family did.

"I wondered whether I would ever see my wife, Lin-Mari, or my children Ruben (3) and Nadia (seven months) again," recalled an emotional Rudi Lorist when Lowvelder interviewed him in Nelspruit Medi-Clinic on Wednesday, just five days after he survived a lion attack while on a wilderness trail with hikers in the Kruger National Park (KNP).

Rudi now joins an elite group of people surviving a lion attack, and every day that passes will forever be a gift to him and his family.

For someone who fought for his life against a lioness trying to protect her cubs, Rudi looks reasonably unscathed, but when one listens to his recollection of the ordeal, the point hits home.

He explained how the group tried to maintain a safe distance from the lioness and her cubs once he first spotted her. "We tried to give her a wide berth, but as we disappeared from her sight, she attacked me."

It took only a second for the lioness to charge towards him, baring her claws and huge fangs. This was probably the longest second of Rudi’s life. He fired off one warning shot at the advancing animal and saw it leap towards him undeterred.

"I sidestepped the lunge, turned around and saw her winding up for another attack." The lion jumped towards him again and with the feline suspended in the air above him, Rudi was certain his days were numbered. Yet, he survived to tell a tale of anguish, self-sacrifice and fortune.

"At that moment, I was certain that I just walked my last trail," he continued. "I fired again, only this time the bullet shattered part of the lion’s jaw."

The furious feline landed on him with her giant paws and he went down under her stifling weight. While she sank her one remaining incisor into his flaying arms and inflicting deep cuts with her claws, Rudi screamed for the assistant ranger, Phillip Gumede, to intervene. He was already ensuring the tourists’ safety.

The lion finally left Rudi alone, but her attack will forever resonate in his mind.

"A lioness with her cubs would often frighten away potential dangers, but it is extremely rare for them to go on full attack."

In fact, the odds of being attacked are almost as slim as surviving one. One might rightly wonder whether this ordeal has put him off his job, but the answer is an assured, "Definitely not!"

"I can’t wait to get back to the park and do what will always be my passion," he concluded before adding with a smile that he still loved lions as well. Rudi was disscharged on wednesday and will start working again in six weeks.

Good wishes from all over the world swamped SANPark’s website since the incident and at the time of going to press there were already 154 posts.
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Riverrat
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by Riverrat »

I just heard about this incident over the weekend and was quite shocked....we're just now planning to go down to the Metsi-Metsi trail next Wednesday and the events have cast a new sense of excitement to our trip..... we will certainly be hearing more about the incident, and I'd also be interested to hear if this involved the same pride that we tracked and met on foot there this time last year with Trails ranger Steven Oosthuizen. He too I found to be a wonderful and very professional guide under the circumstances! On that occasion just after an early dusk brought on by heavy cloud, we walked into a male and female in dense grass at Mazithi Dam (the same one which showed this lage pride this week: http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=25997 ) in very poor visibility conditions and Steven, together with feedback from the sweep-ranger (I forget his name) were particularly effective in keeping our group diciplined and safe and got us through to our vehicle without harm to either the lions or ourselves.

I have to wish Rudi the very best of luck with his recuperation, and an un-hindered rapid return to his haven in the bush. These animals certainly constitute part of the various ranger's families and home, and the likelyhood of these events are part of why they crave the bush so much. He will certainly find his way into the legends of the Kruger like Tom Yssel and Wolhuter (The latter who's attack also happened not far from the Metsi Metsi Trails camp, possibly by ancestors of the same lioness!)

I'd rather not comment on exactly what happened as nobody really does know, or would be wise to hypothesise without a full feedback from witnesses to the event. But someone once sent me this shocking video of a lion-hunt gone wrong, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CNgwZgoKFc and it could certainly give the uninformed some perspective of how quickly events can unfold, and how many shots can be fired off in a time-frame.
(with regards to the video, the thought of hunting especially with unfair advantage... large numbers, or using vehicles etc...turns my gut, but I have to admit that on the whole, regulated hunting has certainly contributed to extensive private nature conservation and even breeding in most cases).

Also of interest...about time last year the trails rangers were all employed by a private guides agency, and the trails rangers services were leased to the Kruger as and when required. From what I understand, the SAN Parks has now brought the trails-rangers employment back inhouse, obviously selecting those they feel most suited for the task at hand. Thus a more proud and committed motivation among these great gentlemen towards both tourist-guiding, and preservation of the natural habitat in which they work.
Dr. Kevin Azzie

RESERVES were declared to keep natural areas in their wildest form.
KEEP IT THAT WAY!!



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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by DinkyBird »

Dear all,

I am writing this e-mail mainly to express my gratitude for all of you that were sending e-mails and sms’s and thinking of me this past week.

I was discharged from medi-clinic on Wednesday the 15th of October. My wounds are healing well, so far no infection. I was badly wounded on both my arms and on my side. I have full use of both hands and arms, only some nerve damage on my upper arms and some muscle damage on my right arm. It will hopefully all heal with time.

I know there are a lot of questions regarding the fate of the lioness that attacked me. So here is what happened: (this is not a full report on the incident)

When the lioness charged me, I shot a warning shot when she was about 15m away from me, but she kept on coming. She leaped towards me and I gave way, where she then hit the ground behind me and immediately she turned and faced me, only then I shot an intended fatal shot, giving her enough benefit of doubt. When I shot she went to ground so I knew I had hit her, but she only went to ground for a split second and then jumped up and grabbed me. I shot her one K-9 off that also broke her jaw and the shot went out by her shoulder. I missed the brain by less then an inch. If it wasn’t for that shot she would have had full use of her jaws and thus she would have definitely crushed my bones on my arms and as I have bite marks on my neck she would have definitely killed me. The rest is history.

By the knowledge that I did injure her, I asked the Rangers to go and investigate the extent of her injuries. When they found her they could see she was indeed injured and had to destroy her. The cubs were nowhere to be found within that area. My intention was never to provoke a charge or to shoot the lioness. It just shows how unpredictable wild animals can be. I thank God that I am still alive!

I again want to convey my appreciation to every body for your thoughts, messages and prayers. I do not have everybody’s e-mail addresses, so please convey this message to them.

Kind regards,

Rudi Lorist
Wilderness Trails Ranger: Metsi Metsi
- Dalene
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Riverrat
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by Riverrat »

Hi Rudi
Get well soon.... it's a great pity we will not be seeing you next week. With regards to the cubs, if this group of lions was in any way related to the very large pride at Mazithi dam, one might even find that one of the other lactating lionesses there may adopt them into her litter...... I don't know if this happens in the wild, but we certainly use this practice in domestic veterinary practice.

Hi cathyb
My comments about the outsourced vs inhouse use of rangers was simply an observation of events, not an assessment of quality of service, and not by any means a criticism of either party...I think you may be reading too deep into my comments.

Many of the previous "privateers" are today still doing the same job, but simply being paid differently. The fact that they are now resident in the Kruger full-time (as compared to sometimes also being allocated to duties in other private reserves or working on their own personal farms) is my grounds for assuming that they shall have more time and opportunity to contribute their knowledge and skills to the preservation of the park.

I cannot comment on the food as my trailing has been to various different ares where one cannot "compare apples with apples".
Dr. Kevin Azzie

RESERVES were declared to keep natural areas in their wildest form.
KEEP IT THAT WAY!!



15 Mar: Satara
21-23 March: Shingwedzi
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ndloti
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Re: KNP Trails Ranger Attacked By Lion

Unread post by ndloti »

ndloti wrote:I was at a social gathering of current and ex - KNP trails rangers last month where a list was circulated in order to update a register kept of animals shot on trail .
I will contact the responsible person to confirm this , but if I recall correctly this was only the second lion shot on widerness trails in 30 years , I believe remarkably few considering the ferocity of a nursing lioness !


Here are the unofficial figures , supplied by a most reliable source .
They exclude figures from one veteran trails ranger(*) who had the misfortune to have had to shoot the most animals of all the trails rangers .

Lion 3
Hippo 5
Buffalo 7
*** 9
Elephant 15
Unconfirmed(*) +- 4
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by Imberbe »

Sorry to totally disagree!

At only 1.5 animals per year! Road kills probably do that per week!?

And do you know how many walks are done each day in KNP alone? Not only the wilderness trails, but almost one walk per day from each of the camps?

Walks are a low impact activity which ads tremendous value to the whole national park experience!
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

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The ultimate wilderness experience! Visit www.thekrugertrail.com
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by Riverrat »

Imberbe, I tend to agree with you: the losses are particularly low compared to the number of trails walked per year througout the park.....say 7 wilderness trails, plus 12 camps (at 2 trails each per day)...thats 31 per day.... 6 day per week.... 52 weeks per year
About 9500 trails per year.
In my mind, the loss of animals here is a small price to pay for the benefit of the education and conservation spawned from such trails towards future wildlife preservation.

In addition, very little education is gained during the roadkill losses......most of the latter were from speeding inconsiderate motorists who were going to learn very little by being in the park anyway.
Dr. Kevin Azzie

RESERVES were declared to keep natural areas in their wildest form.
KEEP IT THAT WAY!!



15 Mar: Satara
21-23 March: Shingwedzi
18-21 April Balule
9 May: Sand River Bush Camp
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by Riverrat »

I've just completed the Metsi Metsi trail under the amazing leadership of Steven Oosthuizen, a close friend of Rudi's and wow, was it an eye-opener.
Apparently when Rudi was attacked, the group was about 5km south east of the Eileen Orpen Dam and some 5 km from the vehicle, which itself was about 4 km from the trails camp. After being attacked and first-aid applied, Rudi walked the route out himself in very hot conditions (It was approximately 42 degrees for us!) and for the first 3 km he put in quite a pace....only towards the end did the shock turn to exhaustion. Once they had made it back to the vehicle they were able to make radio-contact for Rudi to be air-lifted.
At the time of the attack, after ensuring the safety of the hikers, 2nd rifle / ranger, Philip fired off an entire magazine over the wrestling pair (Rudi & the lioness), but was unable to shoot closer for fear of hitting Rudi.
The lioness's head was recovered for verification and inquiry purposes by Steven and the new group of tourists shortly after the incident and had to be carried on foot for the 5 km to the vehicle.
No trace of the cubs could be found, and it is suspected that as they had not been specifically concealed by the lioness in a 'lair', they were probably taken by hyena.
It seems that the attack might have left Rudi with some post-trauma shock and it could be a few months before he returns to leading trails.

Sadly the hiking group left conspiciously few comments in the visitors comments book in the Metsi-metsi lapa after the event......possibly because all were so shocked by the events.

While we were there this last week, another lioness, apparently still lactating, sneaked into our camp during the lunch-rest of the first day and surprised us all. Ranger Steven never hesitated for a minute to ensure all the tourists were safe in the open safari vehicle before using it to herd the lioness out of the camp through a gate. The lioness appeared to want to use the camp for cover to attack some kudu or impala which were feeding just outside the camp fence, but found herself on the wrong side of the fence and only when she was herded against it to the gate did she realise that she was actually trapped. While we were eating, the banter was quite loud and jovial, and this noise did not appear to deter the lioness at all.
Both rangers had armed their rifles for the rescue, but it was clear between them that neither should shoot unless totally and absolutely necessary. Even warning shots were avoided to prevent upsetting the animals.
And this excitement only hours after hearing a leopard kill an impala 50 metres from the fence, and then unfortunately scaring him off his breakfast when we tracked the dragged carcass to his hideout. I'm sure "Mr Metsi" was still in the grass near to us as we examined the warm, bleeding carcass.
Dr. Kevin Azzie

RESERVES were declared to keep natural areas in their wildest form.
KEEP IT THAT WAY!!



15 Mar: Satara
21-23 March: Shingwedzi
18-21 April Balule
9 May: Sand River Bush Camp
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ndloti
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by ndloti »

I think Weg! magazine may have used a bit of journalistic licence , the photo featured of Rudi receiving his service award was taken at the Wilderness trails 30 th Anniversary function at Berg & Dal in the conference hall late in Sept before this incident took place . A few pics from my personal collection of this wonderful function :
Image
Rudi is sitting on the ground 6th or 7th from left of photo to the left of Andrew Desmet , (he manages outdoor activities in KNP , his sleeves are rolled up .)
Image
The legendary section ranger Johan Oelofse is in the background , still on crutches . He was one of the group of 4 of the very first trails rangers in 1979 .
Image
There is Johan as a young trails ranger on the far left in the picture .
If I am not mistaken , his colleague above 3rd from left is also in the other picture of 3 with Rudi .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by ndloti »

He certainly does deserve an award , and a reward as well .

Considering that the lioness was on top of him and came back a second time , I doubt in that time he had chance to realise that its broken jaw was what probably saved him from serious injuries !
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.
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Walks in the Kruger

Unread post by Rodneydup »

I used to think that the Kruger (and other Sanparks) were primarily responsible for conserving and preserving and secondly for tourists. When did it change that animals were placed in danger to cater for a commercial venture such as walks in the park. I sympathise with Rudi Lorist with his injuries and he and his family are lucky he is alive, but he should not have been there.
This is not the first lioness with cubs to be killed and won't be the last. Whose home is it anyway?
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Re: Walks in the Kruger

Unread post by DuQues »

In contrast to your post, the walks in the park(s) are very educational, and thus help visitors to the park(s) understand the conservation needs.
The incident with Rudi was unfortunate, but if you have read the whole story you'll see that Rudi did his best to chase off the lioness.
And this is an incident! Have a look through the news and forums, and see how often an animal has to be shot as they become too dangerous to the people on the walks. I doubt you can find 1 per year.
And then look at the amount of walks...
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by hilda »

Another "oldie" that I never had the time to read, and wasn't even aware of! What a shocking story with a happy ending! I love happy endings! :D
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by johanrebel »

"What a shocking story with a happy ending! I love happy endings."

Had they been in a position to do so, I'm sure the lions would have begged to differ.

Johan
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Re: KNP Trails Guide Attacked By Lion

Unread post by hilda »

johanrebel wrote:Had they been in a position to do so, I'm sure the lions would have begged to differ.


I understand what you mean johanrebel, and agree 100%. But what I meant with a "happy ending", is that the guide was very lucky not to have been killed by the lion. It is very sad that the lion had to be killed because of the broken jaw, which actually was what saved Rudi's life. This didn't happen because he or anyone else did anything wrong or was careless, and I am glad that this young husband and father to two young kids survived the attack.
"Like a sunflower, always turn toward the light." Eleanor Brown.
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