A GAME keeper who was mauled by a cheetah at a wildlife park in Eynsford says the cat is not dangerous - just “hormonal”.

News Shopper reported last week that Jonny Ames and Luke Foreman were attacked by the animal at Eagle Heights and only escaped after it was sprayed in the face with a fire extinguisher.

Both men were left with scratches to their legs and arms but were not seriously hurt.

It happened during a demonstration in front of around 50 visitors, including concerned parent Michael Cooper who believed the men were “lucky to escape with their lives.”

But Jonny, who raised one-year-old Zena from a cub, says a visit from the park’s vet confirmed the cat is not a danger.

The 25-year-old, who escaped with teeth marks to his arm, said: “It’s the first time she’s shown real aggression.

“But it was just harmless play - she’s growing into maturity so she’s the equivalent of a teenager.

“She’s just hormonal.

“She was testing us, but she didn’t get away with it.”

Jonny says both he and Luke were fine after the incident.

He added: “All we have to be careful about is that the wounds don’t get infected, and we’re taking antibiotics as a precaution.

”We’re not anxious about back inside the enclosure.

”We just hope the incident doesn’t overshadow the work we do in educating people about cheetahs.”

Eagle Heights raises money for the Cheetah Conservation Fund through the demonstrations it puts on for visitors.

Eagle Heights houses 130 birds of prey, a camel, a caimen, two meerkats and three cheetahs.

Zoo license

In April this year, Sevenoaks District Council told park staff they would need an upgraded zoo licence to take account of the cheetahs and the camel - both listed as 'category one' animals.

Council bosses said a stronger and higher perimeter fence was needed.

The council issued the current zoo licence in 2006 before many of the category one animals, such as the camel and cheetahs, were added to the collection.

The Zoo Licensing Act categorises zoo animals into three risk levels on the basis of their likely ferocity and ability to cause harm.

Category one is the highest risk.

Mr Ames is currently appealing against the decision but has said he may have to move the wildlife park somewhere else if he can't afford to build a new fence.