Cheetah bites German teen at Beekse Bergen safari park
A cheetah grabbed and bit a 17-year-old German boy at Beekse Bergen safari park on Monday morning. The boy was on a school trip in the park, and he and two classmates ended up in the cheetah enclosure, the safari park in Hilvarenbeek confirmed to RTL Nieuws. The boy was sent home after a checkup in the hospital. The cheetah is fine, and the other two German kids were unharmed.
A spokesperson for Beekse Bergen told the broadcaster that the boys’ class went on the walking safari. The three teenagers deviated from the safari and ended up on a staff-only path. “Despite the fact that there are signs in several languages, including in German, indicating that this is not allowed. The service path is also laid out differently to make the distinction.”
Via the staff-only path, the three teenagers ended up on the route for the car safari and walked into the cheetah enclosure. “To get there, you have to go over the cheetah grid, which you normally do only by car. That is a six-meter wide grid with a current on it and very large holes in between. You don’t feel the current if you walk over it with your shoes.” There are also warning signs at the cheetah grid.
When the boys saw the cheetahs, they started running. “The animals reacted to that. One of the boys was grabbed by a cheetah.” A park ranger saw it happen and rescued the teen from the cheetah’s grasp. “That caregiver is a hero. The person was very shocked but well received by colleagues,” the spokesperson said.
The boy went to the hospital for treatment and was sent home a while later. He is doing well under the circumstances. The same goes for the cheetah and the other two boys, the spokesperson said.
The park is investigating whether it needs to take “more” measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
This is not the first time a visitor got attacked in the park. In 2018, a French family got out of their car in the cheetah enclosure next to sunbathing cheetahs to take pictures. The cheetahs stalked them, but they safely got back into their car.