Robyn Lotz, 26, from Pretoria, whose life’s mission was caring for and rehabilitating neglected and injured wild animals, was attacked after a worker presumably did not close the gate to the lion’s cage properly.
Clinton Lubbe, 37, Lotz’s brother-in-law, said on Wednesday the workers had apparently been cleaning the lion cages.
According to a post on the Facebook page of the animal rehabilitation centre, the lion pushed the gate open and crawled through a smaller gate, used to throw grass into the cages.
Rushed to hospital
“Unfortunately Robyn and two other workers were nearby. The lion grabbed Robyn by the back of her head.
“Although it was just a few minutes before Kevin (a staff member) brought the rifle, to the people involved, it felt like the attack lasted for hours,” the post states.
Lotz was immediately rushed to the Mater Dei hospital where the staff battled to save her life.
“She died just after 10:00. It’s the first time in the 37 years since Chipangali’s establishment that something like this has happened, and we’re making sure it will be the last time,” the post continues.
Lubbe, also from Pretoria, said Lotz had been in Zimbabwe for the past three weeks after the centre approached her to help.
“We’re still struggling to figure out exactly what happened, since the telephone lines in Zimbabwe are problematic. We simply can’t manage to talk to the people in Zimbabwe properly or for long enough to get clear information,” said Lubbe.
“She had a great love for animals and she cared for neglected and abused lions, cheetahs and leopards. She always had wild animals for pets.”
Lubbe said Lotz had also worked at the centre three years ago, for about two years.
Christo Wolvaardt of Imperial Slabs, where Lotz had been working before she returned to Zimbabwe, said Lotz and her family had lived in Zimbabwe previously.
“They’ve been back in South Africa for the past five years.”
Arrangements for the funeral will be finalised shortly.
Lotz’s mother, Alfrieda Lotz, is in shock and extremely upset.
Lubbe said his wife, Elizabeth, 29, is also having a difficult time coming to terms with her sister’s death.
“My wife and my mother-in-law are not doing very well. I think what makes it especially difficult for them is that they can imagine what happened to Robyn, how the lion attacked her. It must be horrifying to know that your child has been ripped apart by a lion.
“That we don’t have all the details also makes it difficult for us.”
Lotz leaves another sister, Ami Lotz. News 24