Girl, 4, Left Fighting for Her Life After Lion Scalps Her During Family Visit to Big Cat Farm
A 4-year-old girl is fighting for her life after a lion attacked her at a wildlife farm in South Africa.
Dina-Marie de Beer and her family were enjoying a visit to the Weltevrede Lion Farm on Sunday when her father Peter moved closer to an enclosure’s fence, which protected the public from the big cats, with the tiny tot in his arms, The New Zealand Herald reports.
As the pair looked at the cats, a lioness stuck its claws through the barrier, clawing through Dina-Marie’s skull and scalping her, the outlet reports.
At the same time, the lioness grabbed on to Peter and he sustained non-life threatening.
Weltevrede manager Charlene van Wyk confirmed the incident telling News24 it was a “freak accident.”
A tour guide, who was present at the time of the attack, told the Independent that Peter and Dina-Marie “got a bit too close, the lion grabbed them through the fence.”
Wyk added that she hopes the young child has a “quick recovery.”
Dina-Marie was promptly airlifted to Netcare Union Hospital in Alberton, where she is in critical condition, News24 reported.
On Monday, Dina-Marie had part of her skull removed to relieve pressure on her brain, according to the Independent.
She remains in an induced coma.
Her father told the outlet that Dina-Marie has a “long road to recovery.”
The incident comes just a week after a different man was attacked through the fence, Newtwerk24 reported, according to the Independent.
The farm’s owner Nico Roets previously said the lions are dangerous explaining, “Sometimes they play a little rough.”
A representative for Weltevrede did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.