Terrifying moment man is attacked by lion in front of screaming onlookers

The elderly make runs for safety as the lion turns to pursue him to the gate

The elderly make runs for safety as the lion turns to pursue him to the gate

Thabazimbi is home to the Marakele Animal Sanctuary, which allows visitors to ride around its lion enclosure in a specially protected vehicle, according to reviews on Google. (Twitter) Mike Hodge is seen running from the lion as it approaches him from behind.

Hodge entered the lion compound to investigate the culprit of a foul smell causing discomfort to one of the lions, according to a friend of the wildlife park owner.

A friend of Mr Hodge told The Sun the sanctuary owner entered the lion compound to investigate a unusual smell.

The incident led to Hodge sustaining neck and jaw injuries, with since released photos showing the man in a "cheery" mood as he continued to recover at nearby Mediclinic Hospital reported News24.

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The British owner of a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa has been severely mauled by a lion that he hand-reared from a cub in an attack that was witnessed and filmed by his tourist clients.

Makarele Predator Park lion attack: Big cat put down following attack.

. Unfortunately, as he wasn't fast enough, the lion caught hold of him and dragged him away.

It has become a routine of a sort to step inside animals' enclosure, a mistake that could have proven fatal for Briton owner of Marakele Predator Park in South Africa.

"He is no fool around lions and knows how to interact with them but clearly something went wrong".

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He and wife Chrissy moved to South Africa to open the sanctuary in 2003.

"Get a rifle, somebody get a rifle just in case". The animal notices him and then charges as Hodge tries to head toward the metal door of the encasement to escape.

The elderly man reportedly remains in a critical condition.

Bystanders filming the encounter captured the moment that the big cat suddenly turned on Mike Hodge, grabbing him and pulling him to the ground as the keeper tried to flee.

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