A BRITISH wildlife sanctuary owner mauled by a lion after entering its enclosure is making an amazing recovery.
Mike Hodge was chased by the big cat and then dragged into a bush after entering its compound to ‘investigate a smell upsetting one of the lions’.
Onlookers screamed for help, sobbed and were heard shouting ‘get a rifle’ as the attack on Monday in the Marakele Predator Centre in South Africa was filmed on a smartphone.
Mr Hodge, 67, suffered injuries to his neck and jaw but is now sitting up in bed and posed smiling for a photo — while the lion was put down.
‘Mike and one of his rangers were a little concerned about a smell in a compound that was upsetting one of the lions and had gone in through the gate to see what was causing it,’ an unnamed friend told The Sun.
‘It had put the lion on edge. When Mike went in, the lion turned and came for him and he ran but couldn’t get through the gate quick enough and it had him.’
The friend said Mr Hodge’s wife, Chrissy, was with him in hospital, adding: ‘He is a lovely guy and I wish him all the best. He is no fool around lions and knows how to interact with them but clearly something went wrong.’
Mr and Mrs Hodge moved to South Africa in 1999 and started a lion conservation project in 2003 on a farm near Thabazimbi in the Limpopo province.
They opened the latest sanctuary in 2010 and currently look after more than a dozen big cats, including white lions, cheetahs and two Bengal tigers.