Guwahati: Noted wildlife conservationist West Mathewson was mauled to death by two white lions while he was taking them for a walk on Wednesday morning. According to a leading news daily, the 69-year-old South African conservationist had reared the lionesses himself.
Many years ago, Mathewson had rescued the two lionesses when they were cubs. He was attacked by the pair during a routine morning walk around his safari lodge, Lion Tree Top Lodge. The lodge is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
Mathewson had rescued the two lionesses from ‘canned hunting,’ where animals are pursued by hunters in a closed enclosure.
According to media reports, his daughter-in-law stated that in the midst of rough play the lioness allegedly turned their attention towards the conservationist. The daughter-in-law stated that they had no idea what actually happened but that there was a rough play which was too much for the aged conservationist.
Mathewson’s wife who was following her husband closely behind in her car tried her best to distract them. She was, however, unable to do so. After the incident, the lionesses were tranquilised and then sent to an endangered species centre. The family is yet to decide the future of the animals.
In 2017, the same lionesses had allegedly once escaped from their enclosure at Lion Tree Top Lodge and then proceeded to kill an employee of a neighbouring wildlife lodge.