Lion Whisperer Kevin Richardson Picture: Facebook

Pretoria - Lion Whisperer Kevin Richardson says he was devastated after a 22-year-old woman was mauled to death by a lioness at a game lodge north of Pretoria.

In a post on Wednesday, shared on his website and social media sites Instagram and Facebook, the South African animal behaviourist said he was "deeply saddened and shocked" by the death of the woman on Tuesday, at their tented camp in the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve. 

"Our condolences and heartfelt sympathies go out to her family at this very difficult time," he wrote. 

Richardson said he and an experienced colleague took three lions for a walk in the reserve - as they do on a weekly basis, as part of their exercise and stimulation regiment.

Read: Lion mauls woman to death in Hammanskraal

"We assessed the landscape for other big 5 animals and as per procedure sent out a notification that we were walking in the reserve. One of the lionesses charged off after an Impala and must have run 2 to 2.5km where she encountered the 22-year-old outside the car,” he said.

Richardson said the woman was not a guest at the camp, but had accompanied her friend to conduct an interview for an assignment with the camp’s manager. 

He said before leaving the reserve, the two visitors were taking photographs outside the tented camp where the attack occurred. 

“I am devastated and my heart goes out to this young woman’s family.”

The Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve was not immediately available for comment.

On Tuesday, Netcare 911 spokesperson Nick Dollman said paramedics were called to assist at a game lodge in the Hammanskraal area.

"Reports from the scene allege that a 22-year-old female victim was attacked and mauled by a lioness," Dollman said at the time.

"When Netcare 911 paramedics arrived at the scene bystanders had initiated CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation]. Tragically the victim had sustained severe injuries and she died at the scene."

African News Agency/ANA