A suspected thief who broke into a lion park was “ripped apart” by up to 10 animals.
The intruder got through three security fences before reaching the main enclosure when he was ferociously attacked by the wild beasts.
Ian Melass at the Lion Park in Johannesburg, South Africa, said: ‘It was late yesterday after the park was closed and the rangers were rounding up the lions to be put in their enclosure overnight.
‘They noticed one male lion and two female lions sitting on something and under closer inspection they found it was a human body.
‘They got them off the body and found the lions had broken his neck, chewed out his abdomen and ripped him apart.
‘He didn’t stand a chance – there are 10 animals in that pen. I don’t know what he was doing in there. He must have known there were lions because there are signs everywhere.
‘We’ve had problems with people from informal settlements round here stealing fences. I can’t be 100 per cent sure but he was probably trying to steal something or was a small time poacher.’
The police were called but the body had no identification papers.
Mr Melass added: ‘I hate to say this but I hope this acts as a deterrent to people thinking of breaking in here. People, including some staff here, forget that these are wild animals and their instinct is to kill.
‘This man had no chance and is now dead,’ said Mr Melass, who also stated there were no plans to kill any of the animals after the death.
The park, which has been running for 40 years, has 100 lions and is a major tourist attraction in the Johannesburg area.
In another attack earlier on the same day in North West province, six caged lions savaged a farm worker who had gone into their cage to feed them, leaving only his fingers and intestines.
Police said the 49-year-old man had been delivering water to the animals when he was attacked at the farm near Mafikeng. He had worked at the farm for two years.
Local environmental officials later visited the game farm to discus what to do with the animals.