The American tourist tragically killed during a lion attack at the South African Lion Park in Gauteng province has been identified as 29-year-old (CNN erroneously lists her age as 22-years-old) Katherine Chappell from Rye, New York.
Katherine’s sister Jennifer took to Facebook to write a moving tribute to her sister after she perished in the South African lion attack.
“We are broken-hearted to share this news with our friends and family: Yesterday morning, while on a volunteer mission to protect wildlife in South Africa, Kate Chappell was involved in a tragic and fatal accident.
Katie was a brilliant, kind, adventurous and high-spirited woman. Her energy and passion could not be contained by mere continents or oceans. She was very much loved and shared her love for life with those she met.”
When she wasn’t championing for lions, and all animals threatened by poachers, Katherine was a visual effects editor for the award winning company Scanline, and before the lion attack, she had worked on the extremely popular HBO series Game of Thrones, for which she won a Primetime Emmy as part of a team in 2014. She also worked on Captain America: Winter Soldier, Divergence, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Noah.
The native New Yorker had travelled from her home in Vancouver, British Columbia — where she had lived since 2013 — to South Africa, on a conservation mission to help protect animals from poachers. In March, before the trip that would ultimately lead to the lion attack, Katherine had set up a GoFundMe page, trying to raise $1,300 for the conservationist group Wildlife ACT, which is dedicated to the protection of animals in South Africa.
“I will be assisting rangers in tracking and monitoring animals, setting up camera traps, participating in poaching prevention techniques, providing support and assistance to veternarians [sic], and be involved in game capture and relocation.”
The lion attack on Katherine Chappell was a preventable tragedy, and sadly, it’s a more common occurrence than one would hope, due, in part, to the fact that many people ignore the rules set up by the Lion Park, even though they are put in place for a reason. One of the main rules of the Lion Park safari in Gauteng province is to never roll down the windows, a rule many Lion Park patrons ignore.
“Visitors to South Africa need to remember that predators are dangerous and rules are there for their own safety… If all the rules are adhered to (during) your visit to the Lion Park, national parks and other similar facilities will be a safe and treasured experience.”
The cat responsible for the lion attack will be moved to another park, along with her cubs, but will not be euthanized.
[Image Credit: Heavy]