Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
15 Jul 2016
1:08 pm

Hyena boy: ‘Respect nature’

Rorisang Kgosana

The boy was attacked by the hyena while sleeping in a tent in the Kruger National Park last month.

Erco Janse van Rensburg. Photo: Supplied

A Centurion teenager recently mauled by a hyena has urged people never to underestimate wild animals, reports Centurion Record.

“Don’t do stupid things,” said Erco “Boela” Janse van Vuuren after he was moved out of the intensive care unit of Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg this week.

“Please do not feed wild animals, and do not underestimate wild animals and nature. Respect nature.”

Janse van Vuuren, 15, sent the message through his grandfather, Basie Smalberger, who issued a statement on his grandson’s progress on Thursday.

The boy was attacked by the hyena while sleeping in a tent in the Kruger National Park last month.

Eighteen days after the ordeal, Janse van Vuuren was recovering well, although he had lost his left eye.

Doctors managed to save his right eye and would continue with facial reconstructive surgery, Smalberger said.

“All the infections have been curbed and the last stitches were removed yesterday (Wednesday). All his vitals are in order and his right eye functions normally,” said Smalberger.

The teenager said he was thankful for all the doctors and nursing staff and the scores of people who had prayed for his recovery.

Smalberger said: “Throughout this whole ordeal, it was actually Boela who was the strong one and inspired everybody, his family, friends, medical personnel and everybody else, known or unknown.”

Janse van Vuuren was looking forward to regaining his muscle mass and fitness again, said his grandfather.

“What he looked forward to most was playing his ukulele, sleeping in his own room, practising karate and riding his motorcycle again.”

Janse van Vuuren woke up at about 4pm on June 26 with the hyena’s jaws around his head at the Crocodile Bridge Camp while sleeping in a tent with his parents.

He described the sound of the hyena crushing the bones in his face like a packet of chips being crushed.

The animal dragged Janse van Vuuren about 30m before it sat on him. His father, Erno, chased the predator away.

The teenager was rushed to Mediclinic in Nelspruit before being airlifted to Milpark Hospital where he underwent a 10-hour long operation.

Caxton News Service