A CANADIAN teen had a lucky escape after being attacked by a lion at the South African wildlife centre she works at, according to local media reports.
Lauren Fagen, from Montreal, had been volunteering at the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre in the Limpopo province, and told of how the lion, a captive male named Duma, grabbed her right leg with his paw, bit her, and dragged her other leg into his enclosure.
She sustained around ten wounds to her legs and feet, requiring stitches and further medical treatment.
The lion’s mate also joined in the attack, biting the volunteer’s feet.
The 18-year-old told South Africa’s Beeld newspaper: “I could not believe what was happening, especially since moments before he was friendly with his head and body pressed against the bars, as though he wanted me to rub him.”
Staff members rushed to Lauren’s aid, beating the big cat with sticks until he let go of the teen. She is curerntly in hospital, but is expected to make a full recovery.
Photos on Lauren’s Facebook posted in June showed her walking with lion cubs at the rehab centre, where she was volunteering for the summer.
Wildlife centre staff confirmed that all workers are warned to be careful round the animals.
The centre’s founder, Brian Jones, told the Mail and Globe newspaper that it was a ‘miracle [the attack] wasn’t worse.’
Ms Fagen is due to start at McGill University in Montreal, in September.