Namibian researcher survives lion attack
11 December 2020 | Accidents
A Botswana Wild Bird Trust (BWBT) researcher carrying out fieldwork as part of an ongoing biodiversity research and monitoring programme in Botswana's Okavango Delta, was mauled by a male lion in the early hours of 7 December, the organization confirmed on their Facebook page.
Since last Tuesday, dramatic images have been circulating on the internet of the injuries that Namibian-born Götz Neef had suffered when he was surprised by an apparently old male lion in his tent at around 01:30 that morning.
Neef's colleagues, including Dr Rainer von Brandis (head of research at the BWBT) rushed to his aid as best they could, but the animal only let up on his attack when the game ranger Walter Setlabosha started a vehicle and ran over the animal.
The lion fled into the veld; he has since been destroyed.
Since no emergency flight could be carried out at the time, the team drove three hours to Maun, where Neef could receive emergency treatment. From there he was taken to a private hospital in Windhoek.
His father Georg said his son was fortunate and confirmed to our sister publication, the Allgemeine Zeitung, that Götz was in good shape but expressed his anger at reports that Götz had been described as a photographer for National Geographic. This was based on initial reports on social media but was refuted and corrected by the BWBT.
In 2015, Neef was part of a 15-person research group for the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project, who paddled down the Cuito River from Angola to Namibia in fiberglass mokoros before following the course of the Okavango River down into the delta. At that time, Neef reported about the danger posed by landmines in Angola and compared this with the danger posed by hippos, elephants, crocodiles "and lions when camping on land”.