Dina-Marie de Beer was visiting the Weltevrede Lion Farm in South Africa with her dad when the attack took place.
She was in his arms when she reached out to attempt to stroke the beast.
The animal, a juvenile lioness, then lashed out through the fence.
It penetrated part of the tot’s skull and ripped off her skull, reports Netwerk24.
Her dad Pieter was left with minor injuries from the horror attack.
“[It was a] freak accident”
Charlene van Wyk
Dina-Marie is in a critical condition in hospital with reportedly part of her skull removed to relieve pressure on the brain.
The family had reportedly visited the lion park so she could pet a lion cub.
Charlene van Wyk, the manager of the farm, called the incident a “freak accident”.
She added the rules of the park clearly state visitors should not get close to the fence.
One tour guide at the farm said the dad and daughter “got a bit too close”.
He added that the lion “grabbed him through the fence” and hoped the child would make a “quick recovery”, reports The Independent.
Two sisters were attacked by lionesses at the Weltevrede Lion Farm in January 2010.
Reportedly, the youngest girl bent down to pet one of the lions, when an 8-month-old lioness jumped on her from behind.
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