Niël Terblanché & Samuel N. Shinedima
GÖTZ Neef, the young Namibian that was mauled by a hungry lion in the swamps of the Okavango Delta in Botswana at the start of the week is feeling better and is already looking forward to going home to spend Christmas at home.
Neef, who is currently recuperating from the ordeal in the Lady Phohamba Private Hospital in Windhoek after undergoing several surgical procedures to close up deep lacerations on his arms and head where the lion’s teeth tore through his skin, said the scary ordeal is behind him and he is looking forward to continuing with his life as a wildlife researcher.
When Informanté’s Samuel Shinedima visited him in the hospital, Neef said he is under contractual agreement from the Botswana Wild Bird Trust not to speak about the details of his harrowing experience during the early hours of Monday morning to any media institution.
He was, however, allowed, to say that he is still in some pain and that his muscles are still stiff from fighting off the lion with his bare hands. He indicated that he is healing and feeling well and looking forward to going home for Christmas.
According to the official report about the attack that was published by the Botswana Wild Bird Trust, Neef was attacked in his tent by the hungry lion at about 01:30 on Monday morning.
“I heard something move around my tent, looked at the time, it was 01.26, then saw a head pressing against my tent, and recognized a nose. I did not know what was outside my tent. I started calling for help and then hit the nose with my fist as hard as possible,” he said.
According to the report, Neef said that one of the other people in the camp shouted that there was a lion at his tent. The animal managed to enter the tent at some stage.
“I moved into a corner of my tent and tried to push the lion away with my sleeping bag. The lion started to bite me and got me by the head but I managed to pull my head away and pushed my left elbow in his face. The lion started biting my arm and I screamed”, Neef said.
Other people in the camp tried to scare the lion away but they only managed to save his life when the main guide of the Botswana Wild Bird Trust ran to the research party’s vehicle and driving over the lion.
Neef was taken to a nearby tourist camp from where he was transported to a hospital in Maun. At the hospital, doctors stabilised him before he was flown to Windhoek with an ambulance flight.
According to information from the Botswana Wild Bird Trust, the injured lion has been put down after the relevant authorities assessed the situation and provided necessary permissions.
“The unusual behaviour of the male lion is thought to be due to the lion being old and emaciated,” the report states.