Cape Town - A young mother from Springs in Gauteng is extremely grateful her nine-year-old son is recovering after a lion grabbed him by the throat in a lion park near Tzaneen in Limpopo.
In a comment posted on an image on a public Facebook prayer group, Hemelse Perels, Sonja Swanepoel says, “My bug is out of theatre and is doing well. The first thing he asked for was biltong! He can eat and talk. Thank you for all the prayers! "
The initial post showing Jayden, with heavy bandages around his throat, does not detail much about how the attack happened.
Traveller24 contacted Swanepoel to find out how Jayden is doing and more about how the attack happened but has not heard back from her as yet.
According to Letaba Herald reports Swanepoel says she is not willing to be interviewed. "All I can say is that if it happened very quickly. The people of the lodge assisted us with everything. I'm just grateful my child is alive.
UPDATE - PICS: Boy in lion attack heads back to park to face his fears!
Letaba River Lodge is a popular tourist attraction in Tzaneen and is famous for its petting activities.
According to information on the Letaba River Lodge website, also known as Tzaneen Lion and Predator Park (Eco Park), it offers game drives on request and consists of a Lion Park and Game in the park with of Lion, Tiger, Hyena, Wild Dog, Caracal, Serval, Emu, Giraffe, Impala, Nyala, and Zebra on show.
Blood Lions: 6 Harsh truths about canned lion hunting
Traveller24 has contacted the Lodge to find our more about the incident, as well as what the forward plan is with the young lion that attacked young Jayden - but has not yet received a response.
In a similar yet more harrowing vein, Joburg's Lion Park came under fire for its Lion self-drive and petting activities - including a 29-year-old special effects editor Catherine Chappell who worked on the massively popular series, Game of Thrones.
in 2015, Chappell unfortunately did not obey park rules and rolled her window down all the way, exposing her and her driver when the lion maul happened.EXCLUSIVE: WATCH: Joburg market sells illegal wildlife products just down the road from CITES CoP17
Added to this, the captive bred lion industry as well as lion cub petting is is a controversial debate in SA's conservation circles. As exposed by the Blood Lions
documentary, it is believed to be one of the many pitfalls of South Africa's notorious canned lion hunting industry - an industry that has come under much scrutiny at the CITES CoP17 held in Johannesburg.
While a proposal to end the canned lion industry in South Africa was lodged, it was not voted for successfully - nor the motion to have the endangered wild lion species up listed to critically endangered to CITES Appendix 1.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- PICS: Joburg's controversial Lion Park backtracks on canning cub petting
- #ShockWildlifeTruths: Call to end SA's canned lion hunting industry accepted at IUCN
- #ShockWildlifeTruths: Could new mega-reserves save Africa's lions?