This is an excerpt from an article written by Iavan Pijoos and published online by TimesLIVE on 28 August, 2020
The family of Limpopo lodge owner Arthur “West” Mathewson, killed by a lion this week, are saddened but find comfort in knowing he died “while living his dream of being in nature and with his lions that were so close to his heart”.
This is according to family spokesperson Marina Botha.
West was well known in the community for walking his lionesses Demi and Tanner, she said.
“One of them started attacking their owner [Mathewson] without any warning,” during their regular walk on Wednesday.
His wife, Gill Mathewson, witnessed the incident from the vehicle where she was driving behind West and the lionesses.
“She tried her best to rescue her husband, but was unable to do so.”
According to Gill, Mathewson was always “very careful” when interacting with the lions and took all safety measures that he could.
An activist group has warned that lions remain wild animals and should always be treated with respect, with no human interaction.
“Blood Lions does not support the interaction of humans with wild animals. There is no need to do that and holds no conservation value,” said Nicola Gerrard, of the Blood Lions campaign.
“While these lions were domesticated from a young age, they are still extremely dangerous and have a wild instinct.
“The conservation community will tell you that it is not advisable to be interacting with wild animals in captivity.”