The owner of a wildlife park in South Africa is recovering from several lacerations and a broken jaw after a lion attack on Saturday, reports Newsweek. Michael Hodge was investigating a strange smell in the lion's enclosure at the Marakele Animal Sanctuary, near Thabazimbi; it seemed to be disturbing the animal, reports the Guardian. As Hodge was leaving the enclosure, the lion raced toward him and dragged him to some nearby bushes as visitors screamed and Hodge yelled for help. Hodge was eventually rescued and airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg. The attack was captured in a graphic video that can be viewed here.
A spokesperson for the family said in a news release that the lion attacked as Hodge was showing tourists around the sanctuary and that the lion, a large male called Shamba, was killed during the attempt to save Hodge. The family said in a statement that Hodge "is only too aware of the dangers of working with wildlife but they remain his passion," and that the family is devastated by the loss of the 10-year-old lion, which they raised from a cub; CBS News notes Hodge bottle-fed a young Shamba. Hodge and his wife, Chrissy, came to South Africa from the UK in 1999, opened a lion project in 2003 and the sanctuary seven years later. (Read more lion stories.)