02 May, 2018
Hodge, who founded the sanctuary with his wife Chrissy and stepdaughter Emma in 2010, was reportedly investigating a unusual smell that had been upsetting the lion.
"Mike and one of his rangers were a little concerned about a smell in a compound that was upsetting one of the lions and had gone in through the gate to see what was causing it", an unnamed man who claimed to be a friend of the victim told the Sun.
Mike is recuperating in the hospital having sustained injuries to his neck and jaw, according to South African police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.
The animal park's website states Mike and Chrissy Hodge moved to South Africa from the United Kingdom in 1999 and opened their lion project in 2003.
"He is no fool around lions and knows how to interact with them but clearly something went wrong".
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Onlookers scream as he is dragged back by the beast.
One of 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia is released at its final destination: an animal sanctuary in South Africa's Limpopo province.
The video sparked debate on social media, with some criticizing Hodge for entering the enclosure.
Mr Hodge was rescued after a gun was sacked, causing the lion to drop him and run away.
Mike Hodge was attacked by the big cat at the Makarele Predator Centre in Thabazimbi, South Africa, seconds after going into its enclosure. The attack is now being investigated and it is not immediately clear what caused the animal to snap.
Another man is heard shouting in an American accent, "Somebody get a rifle, just in case", while a terrified and sobbing woman, apparently also an American, screams: "Help my dad!"