A 22-year-old woman has died after being attacked by a Lioness at a nature reserve in Gauteng Province, South Africa, on Tuesday 27 February 2018. The incident happened at the Dinokeng Game Reserve, which has featured in a number of TV documentaries aired internationally, when the as yet unnamed woman encountered a captive-reared animal that had escaped earlier that day. Captive-reared Lions lack the fear of Humans usually exhibited by Lions that have grown up in the wild, making them more dangerous to (and in more danger from) Humans than other Lions. For this reason captive-reared Lions are not usually released into the wild (some South African reserves use captive-reared Lions for canned hunts, in which tame animals are 'hunted' in enclosed areas, something that the Dinokeng Reserve's owner, Kevin Richardson, has actively campaigned against for many years).
On this occasion the Lioness is understood to have been one of three animals being taken for a walk on an area of the reserve away from visitors by Richardson and anther park employee when she spotted an Impala and set of in pursuit of it. She later encountered the woman who was taking photographs outside of her vehicle about 2-2.5 km from the area where the Lioness last seen, having visited the reserve to see a friend on a work-placement there.
Lions are currently listed as Vulnerable under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, as they underwent a 43% decline in population globally during the period 1993-2014 (roughly three generations in Lion terms). This decline has largely been fuelled by habitat loss, combined with deliberate killing of the animals to protect Humans, and their livestock, expanding their range into the Lion's territory. However the species has actually undergone an increase in population size in four Southern African countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe), where large wildlife parks are heavily protected against incursion and poaching to protect other species.
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