Free State farmworker mauled to death by lioness

Free State farmworker mauled to death by lioness

A game farmworker in Glen, a small town outside of Bloemfontein, has died after being mauled by a lioness while fixing an enclosure fence at the weekend.

According to Free State police, Jere Mataka was attacked by one of four lionesses when he unknowingly entered an enclosure in which the one of lionesses was present.

Fatal mistake

“On 23 June 2024 at about 12:20, the victim and his supervisor had just finished putting up a gate at one of the lion enclosures.

“It is alleged that the victim left his room and went straight to the enclosure. The supervisor screamed to notify him that he must quickly get out as there was a female lion in the enclosure, but it was too late. 

“One of the four lions attacked him and he lost his life,” Captain Lorraine Earle said in a statement.

Earle said the supervisor was able to retrieve the 43-year-old Mataka but he later died after sustaining multiple bite marks on his neck and body.

The Free State lioness was later euthanised by the Bloemfontein SPCA.

Dinokeng lions euthanised

In 2023, at Dinokeng Game Reserve in Hammanskraal, a group of lions were euthanised after they mauled Johannes Matshe to death.

Matshe was an employee of the game reserve and was mauled on the evening of 13 August. In a statement, the game reserve said the man was attacked and mauled to death by three lions while trying to navigate the reserve on foot after dark.

“The employee was only discovered on Monday, 14 August when the fencing team from the reserve discovered what appeared to be human remains,” said a representative of the game reserve.