West Mathewson, a famous conservationist in South Africa, died Wednesday at age 69 when he was attacked by his two lionesses while taking a walk with the animals, police said.

The incident occurred at his popular Lion Tree Hotel, located in a nature reserve near Hoedspruit town in Limpopo province (northeast).

“The two lionesses are believed to have attacked the deceased during one of his regular walks. The incident allegedly took place while his wife was watching helplessly,” said police spokesman Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, quoted by local media.

Apparently, the wife was following her husband in a vehicle and tried to distract the animals, but could not prevent the unfortunate outcome.

“Police and emergency services were activated. Upon arrival, the man was found with multiple injuries. He was declared dead at the scene” of the events, explained Mojapelo, adding that an investigation into the incident has been opened. The lionesses have been moved to another natural reserve near the area.

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