Mauled Zimbabwean safari guide the 'ultimate professional'

(Photo: 3 News)
(Photo: 3 News)

A top Zimbabwean safari guide has been mauled to death by a lion while trying to protect five New Zealanders.

Quinn Swales died at Camp Hwange, the same park where Cecil the lion was shot dead by an American dentist.

Mr Swales was leading a group of five New Zealanders and a Frenchman on a bush walk when they came across the tracks of a pride of lions.

The adult male lion walked purposefully towards the tour group. Swales told everyone to get behind him and not to move.

The group then shouted at the lion to intimidate it and Mr Swales set off a bear banger, which makes a loud noise.

The lion moved away, then suddenly turned and charged Mr Swales, who placed himself between the lion and his tour group.

The park's general manager told 3 News in a statement: "Quinn bore the full brunt of the charge and literally stopped the attack of the lion on his group by placing himself directly in harm's way. Quinn sadly died at the scene, the shouting of his guests driving the lion away from his body and allowing emergency first aid to be performed."

The guests escaped unharmed, then called the camp for assistance.

The national park was home to Cecil the lion, shot dead last month. It is popular with New Zealand travellers.

Christchurch engineer Billy Doughty and his family were with Mr Swales two days before the attack.

In a Facebook post they described him as the ultimate professional.

3 News has been told the five New Zealanders who survived the fatal attack left the camp midweek, flying home to New Zealand.

3 News