Grotesque visuals depicting a decapitated, mauled head and a severed leg have made their rounds via WhatsApp in Newcastle.
These disturbing images have been sent around with a photograph of a lion and an accompanying voice note. In the voice note, a person claims that the predator responsible for the assault was spotted on the outskirts of Newcastle.
The sender of the voice message can be heard stating, “Check what they found here just outside Newcastle. So now that lion has disappeared and they can’t find it. They tried to dart it, but they missed.”
Coupled with the harrowing photographs of the man’s remains, who evidently met a horrific fate, this voice recording seems crafted to elicit a strong reaction from the community. However, even though the authentic imagery of the deceased is undeniable, the incident itself did not transpire anywhere near Newcastle.
Musa Mntambo, the Communications Manager at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, was approached to verify the veracity of the incident. Mntambo underscored that these visuals actually stem from a tragic occurrence in Gauteng.
The deceased was an employee at Dinokeng Game Reserve, who fell victim to a lion attack. This was after he had allegedly attempted to navigate the reserve on foot after nightfall.
His remains were discovered on Monday, 14 August 2023. The Hammanskraal SAPS were delving into the matter and had initiated an inquest.
Moreover, Lizzy Arumugam, spokesperson for the Newcastle SAPS, confirmed the absence of any lion attack reports or related remains in the vicinity of Newcastle. She emphasised that there were no incidents matching such a description.
Arumugam stated, “We encourage people to refrain from spreading fake news messages. People cannot always tell if something is true or not, especially on social media. Messages such as this creates panic.”
As the source of the initial message remains unidentified, residents of Newcastle are urged to refrain from perpetuating its circulation.
This is particularly crucial as the visuals unequivocally portray the individual who met his demise during the Gauteng attack.
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