The owner, Mike Hodge was rushed to hospital with injuries to the neck and jaw following the shocking incident caught that was caught on camera.
"Mike and one of his rangers were a little concerned about a smell in a compound that was upsetting one of the lions and had gone in through the gate to see what was causing it", Hodge's friend told the Sun.
Hodge and his wife started off raising lions in 2003 on a farm about 18 miles from Thabazimbi.
Mike Hodge was attacked by the big cat at the Makarele Predator Centre in Thabazimbi, South Africa, seconds after going into its enclosure.
The lion drags him further into the bushes but then gunshots ring out and the lion moves away.
Michael Hodge, 71, was attacked as he walked into the enclosure of the Marakele Animal Sanctuary's star attraction, a male lion named Shamba, The Telegraph reported.
It has become a routine of a sort to step inside animals' enclosure, a mistake that could have proven fatal for Briton owner of Marakele Predator Park in South Africa.
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One of 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia is released at its final destination: an animal sanctuary in South Africa's Limpopo province.
Guests can stay in safari tents and each night they "will be able to hear the lions roar, hyenas laugh, and jackals calling".
A video of the incident was also shot by onlookers, where Hodge could be first seen entering the animal's enclosure and then trying to run away from it.
One viewer questioned why he had ventured so close to the lion. When the lion was finished with him, Hodge lay motionless on the ground.
"Set him free, where he deserves to be".
The animal has reportedly been killed following the attack.
While another posited, 'Hopefully everyone boycotts this place, the lion should not have been put down'.