A big game safari tracker was mauled by two lions and eaten to death while following cheetah tracks for tourists.
Two Lions Attack
Malibongwe Mfila was a 27-year-old man who was following the tracks of a pair of cheetahs when he left his jeep to follow on foot. He was scouting out the Marakele National Park at the Marataba Safari Lodge at the time of the attack.
Soon after leaving the safety of the vehicle, two young lions who were hidden behind a bush pounced on the man.
The lions drug Mfila to the ground and ate him. A police spokesman said another person drove up in a car and saw the lions feasting on the man. He quickly went to get help.
Police confirmed that they shot both lions.
It is unknown how large the lions were that attacked the man. However, an adult male lion can grow as large as 500 lbs. and stand at four feet tall and seven feet long.
Reynold Thakhuli, a spokesman for the South African National Park, spoke on the attack. The said that Mfila was “tracking wildlife as part of his usual duties for Marataba when he died.”
Thakhuli also added. “He was following up on cheetah tracks and appeared to have alighted from the vehicle and had walked just 20 meters when he came upon two male lions.”
The euthanized lions were taken and are undergoing further testing and autopsies.
The area is known for being home to “the Big 5,” which includes lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant.
It was Mfila’s job to track the animals for tourists while also giving information to game rangers in the area.
The CEO of More Family Collection, a luxury safari lodge, Robert More, paid tribute to the young tracker.
“Malibongwe was an integral part of the Marataba Luxury Lodges field guiding team and had great promise for a very successful future. The Marataba family is devastated by his loss. His sunny disposition coupled with his natural talent will be sorely missed by us all here.”
According to the Daily Mail, the expensive safari lodge costs around $1,041 a night. It is located nearly four-hours from Johannesburg, at the base of the Waterberg Mountains in the Limpopo Province.