Wildebeest attack survivor undergoes surgery in Bloem

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SABRINA DEAN – A leisurely walk with the family turned into a nightmare for Julie Moore, 22, after her father and brother were killed by a wildebeest.

Julie, who underwent surgery to her face in Mediclinic Bloemfontein yesterday, said she, her brother John and her parents, Maclear farmer Michael and Adele, were hiking from their Eastern Cape farm to Rhodes village when a lone wildebeest suddenly attacked her brother.

She says the family struggled for some time to escape the animal, with her at some point phoning her older brother Dave at the coast so that he could send help. Her mother also went to try and get help.

Dave Moore told Bloemfontein Courant the family has been hiking that route from one of their farms into town for generations. “According to what my sister told me, they were walking down the hill towards the town when this one wildebeest just attacked from behind,” he said.

Dave said his brother and father physically wrestled with the animal in an attempt to subdue it. “Then a second animal joined it and they were absolutely vicious,” he said.

Julie was also attacked by the second wildebeest. By the time help arrived with her mother, Julie had to be rushed to hospital and her brother and father were dead.

Dave says the wildebeest allegedly carried on mauling his brother and father even after they had passed away. He says they have no idea why the animals have been introduced into the area and adds there were no warnings or game fences.

Moore says his sister’s life was saved by the swift reaction of farmer’s in the area. “What ultimately saved my sister’s life was the quick reaction of the farmers in the area, who shot the animal that was still attacking her when they got there,” he says.

He says the incident is being investigated by Eastern Cape police. His mother Adele escaped without injury.

Meanwhile Bloemfontein Mediclinic spokesperson Reinette Oosthuizen confirmed that Julie Moore underwent surgery yesterday. “A maxilla-facial surgeon put a plate into her face, into her cheek where the cheekbone was broken,” she says.

Eastern Cape police could not be reached for comment yesterday.