Friday, March 16, 2007

Woman mauled by lions at Zimbabwe wildlife park

By Janine du Plessis
March 15 2007 at 12:07PM

An Australian embassy worker is recovering in a Pretoria hospital after being attacked by lions at a wildlife park outside Harare earlier this month.

Gemma Huggins, 27, was the second diplomatic worker mauled by lions at the park and now safety concerns have been raised about conditions at the park.

In 2005 a Japanese embassy employee died of her injuries in a similar attack at the same park.

Unitas Hospital has confirmed that Huggins is recovering well and that her doctors "are happy with her progress", but referred further media inquiries to the Australian High Commission.

Apparently Huggins, who had only just taken up her post at the embassy in Harare, went to visit the Lion and Cheetah Park outside Harare with her boyfriend on Sunday, March 4 when she was mauled.

Unconfirmed reports claim she was picked up by her head and shaken but her boyfriend was able to fight the lions off.

She is believed to have been treated at a hospital in Harare before being transported to Unitas Hospital, where she spent several days in the intensive care unit.

The Australian High Commission in Pretoria only confirmed there had been an incident but would not release further details.

"She is being treated in hospital but her injuries are not life-threatening. The staff member and her family have asked that their privacy be respected," said the spokesperson.

In 2005, Xinhuanet, a Japan-based news website, reported that a 50-year-old Japanese national attached to the Japanese Embassy in Harare had died from wounds she sustained when a pride of lions attacked her at the Lion and Cheetah Park.

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=125 &art_id=vn20070315102105697C136270

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