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South African conservationist killed by white lioness he rescued – report says

A South African conservationist has been killed by one of two white lionesses he rescued from a hunting farm.

West Mathewson had been walking with the animals on the grounds of the Lion Top Lodge he owned in Limpopo, northern South Africa, the Letaba Herald newspaper reported.

His wife is said to have watched from a vehicle as one of the animals became aggressive and injured her husband’s groin.

Mr Mathewson died from his injuries on the premises on Wednesday morning, according to the Lowvelder news site.

The 68-year-old is said to have been affectionately known as “Uncle West” by locals.

He kept the two lionesses, named Demi and Tanner, on his property at the lodge.

Mr Mathewson reportedly rescued the animals from a canned lion hunting farm, where the animals are bred to be hunted, outside Polokwane a few years ago.

He then hand-reared the animals as cubs, according to the lodge’s website.

Mr Mathewson’s daughter-in-law Tehri Mathewson told News24: “I think it was just a tragic accident that happened.

“The lions are safe and will forever be loved and cared for as he would have wanted.”

An inquest has been opened into Mr Mathewson’s death, a Limpopo police spokesperson said.

Olexhome

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