UK & World News
UK Tourist Mauled By Cheetahs At Game Park
A British tourist has been mauled by two apparently tame cheetahs in a South African game reserve - in an attack caught on camera.
Violet D'Mello had just posed for a photograph with one of the hand-reared animals in an enclosure when the ordeal happened.
She played dead to try to stop being attacked by cheetahs Mark and Monty and said the incident had turned her month-long holiday - to celebrate her 60th birthday - into a "nightmare".
Mrs D'Mello and her husband Archie, 64, were in a petting area with a guide when, she said, one of the cheetahs grabbed an eight-year-old girl who was there with her family.
The child was left with cuts on her legs, and then the cheetah appeared to run after her seven-year-old brother, she added.
Mrs D'Mello, from Aberdeen, told the Port Elizabeth Herald newspaper: "They weren't being vicious. You could tell they (the cheetahs) were just excited, but it became serious very quickly."
Then, as she tried to protect the boy, she said "something jumped me from behind". The cheetah knocked her to the ground and attacked her.
The guide frantically tried to pull the animal off her as Mrs D'Mello played dead at the Kragga Kamma Game Park in Port Elizabeth.
She said: "Something inside me just said, 'Don't move. Don't move at all. Don't react, just play dead'."
As soon as the guide managed to prise the first animal off, the other one bit Mrs D'Mello's legs and held her down.
Visitors struggled to get the big cats off and after a few minutes, they all managed to run to the gate.
"This was meant to be a holiday, but it's really turned into a nightmare," said Mrs D'Mello, who reportedly suffered wounds on her head, stomach and legs and was taken to hospital.
The reserve is believed to have been closed as an investigation into the incident takes place.
Park manager Mike Cantor said it was not clear what had sparked the attack by the cheetahs, who had been hand-reared since birth and were considered extremely tame.
"From what we've been told, there was a lot of commotion at the scene, which, unfortunately, most likely aggravated them somewhat," Mr Cantor told the paper.
"We're also considering the possibility that a female in heat in one of the neighbouring enclosures might have played a role here, but we can't be sure at this stage."
Hello, regular commenting on Orange News and Sport pages closes on Thursday 30 May 2013. We will continue to provide a commenting facility on major news and sport events on orangeworld.co.uk. Contact us via http://oran.ge/OWfeedback if you have any further questions. Thanks.
what do you think?
Normal domestic pets can just turn for no apparent reason, and they've had centuries of human intervention to try to tame them, so it's hardly surprising a wild animal that isn't supposed to be a pet reverts to instinct and attacks.
Way to state the obvious! I don't see what your point is. Is it her faullt for daring to trust that the people running it knew what they were soing and had it under control? We all know the risks of everything... flying, driving a car, crossing the road. But still we trust that people don't muck up. When and if they do the victim is hardly at fault. If everyone had that attitude no-one would risk anything and we'd all be living in caves.
Reminds me of that woman who had her face ripped off by her freinds chimp
Chris.... if you can't see the point that Paul is trying to make, then perhaps you should be living in a cave. Is there stamp duty on caves today?
I don't know when people are going to stop patting crocodiles, brown bears, lions, leopards, cheetahs, snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, donkeys, bulls and ... oh yeah, eagles, owls, swans, goats. The list is endless. Why do people play with dangerous animals? ... They even swim with flocks of sharks. Why? ...
'Flocks of Sharks'----- and theres me thinking for over 60yrs that a shark was a species of fish. So what are birds then 'Schools'?
I had several Oriental and Siamese cats and I showed them. I had a lovely affectionate Oriental Caramel,Merlin and during a cat show I had my hand in the pen to stroke him and for no reason at all I could see he bit into my hand and would not let go for a while.I would never have said that he would bite me. My hand swelled and had to have anti_biotics. But Merlin had to go for his booster shortly afterwards, but was told by the Vet that he had amassive tumour. so all I could say Poor Merlin had been Poorly at the time unknown to me so perhaps that is what caused him to bite.So one can never tell when an animal would turn.and for us not to know the reason.
om nom nom nom chew But seriusly as Paul said this are instinctive animals nomater how tame you think they are they are neverthat tame
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
I have visited South Africa with my family a few times and have visiteed a place called Spier. They have a Cheetah education centure where they help to improve cheetah's health and numbers. You can also have pictures taken with them which was an unforgettable experience, But before you go in they teach you about the Cheetah and remined you it is a animal built to kill. When you go in they tell you to touch the animal only on its back and allow it to move if it wants. I think that someone may have touched it when they should not have done or in an area they warned such as the head, tail and legs. Also i got to hear a Cheetah purring which was amazing.
Why do people seem to think these animals are tame and will not attack?!They're not called WILD for no reason!
I think it is unwise to engage with so called tame wild animals just look at the number of keepers who have been killed by big cats who they thought they could trust.
If they can be 'aggravated' so easily, perhaps they shouldn't be roaming free. I agree with Paul, these are wild animals that should be treated with respect and caution. A shock for those attacked, but I hope these animals are just safely enclosed now, rather than being shot for behaving naturally, like wild cats.
And someone decided to film it??????
I quite often bathe with hand reared piranhas and let hand reared constrictors squeeze me dry