Mr Hodge and wife Chrissy opened the sanctuary in 2003.
"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", an unnamed man who claimed to be a friend of the victim told the Sun.
The lion drags a limp Hodge towards some bushes as other park visitors scream for help.
"He is no fool around lions and knows how to interact with them but clearly something went wrong".
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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Makarele Predator Park lion attack: Big cat put down following attack..
Mike is recuperating in the hospital having sustained injuries to his neck and jaw, according to South African police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.
In the background a man can be heard shouting 'get a rifle'.
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.
Debbie Wagner said: 'So sad that the lion is only doing what comes naturally to him.
Whatever be the noble thought of the man, he found himself under attack from the predator who had nearly gone for the kill.
Bystanders filming the encounter captured the moment that the big cat suddenly turned on Mike Hodge, grabbing him and pulling him to the ground as the keeper tried to flee.