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Lion mauls young researcher

Lion mauls young researcher

Niël Terblanché


A YOUNG Namibian wildlife researcher, Götz Neef, is recuperating in a Windhoek hospital after he was severely mauled by a lion in the Okavango Delta while on a research trip to Botswana.


Neef, a research manager for the Botswana Wild Bird Trust, owes his life to a guide who used a heavy four-wheel-drive vehicle to drive over the lion that attempted to drag the young man out of the tented camp in which he and a team of researchers were sleeping on Sunday night.


Neef along with other members of the research team have retired to the tents for the night when the lion came scavenging around their camp.


Namibian wildlife researcher Götz Neef Windhoek hospital mauled lion
ROAD TO RECOVERY: Götz Neef in his hospital bed after being mauled by a lion in the swamps of the Okavango Delta in Botswana earlier this week. – Photo: Courtesy of Dirk Heinrich


He was evacuated from Botswana with an emergency flight after the lion attacked him in his tent during the early hours of Monday morning.


The Botswana Wild Bird Trust in a statement on their Facebook page confirmed that the young researcher, who left Namibia two days before the attack to join up with the rest of the research team, was undertaking fieldwork as part of our ongoing biodiversity research and monitoring programme in the Okavango Delta.


According to the statement, Neef was severely injured during the attack where he along with the research team had to fight the lion off with their bare hands.


During the fight with the lion, one of the guides accompanying the research team jumped into one of the vehicles and drove over the animal to force it to let go of Neef.


He was stabilised by medical personnel in Botswana before he was evacuated back to Namibia and admitted to the Lady Pohomba Private Hospital in Windhoek where he had to undergo several surgical procedures to close the deep lacerations where the lion bit him during the attack.


According to the statement by the Botswana Wild Bird Trust, the lion that attacked Neef was very old and emaciated.


Authorities in Botswana shot the lion to put it out of its misery after the guide drove over the animal to save Neef’s life.


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