A leopard has mauled a toddler to death in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
It’s understood that the incident took place at the Malelane Technical Services living Quarters on Wednesday night. The victim was a staff member’s child.
Chief Executive Officer of South African National Parks extended his condolences to the family of the deceased.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the family during this trying time, we wish them strength and will give them all the support they need as an organisation.”
The boy’s father, 35-year-old Isaiah Ntimane, a water operator in the Kruger park, told The Star that his wife and son had come from Bushbuckridge, a nearby town, to visit him at work.
“I was walking to my cottage and he followed me. I didn’t notice that he was behind me, because I left him there playing with his mother’s phone. And just when I got to my cottage and was closing the door behind me, I heard screams coming from outside,” he reportedly said.
Ntimane reportedly said that he rushed out to see what was causing the commotion and found his son hanging from the leopard’s jaws. He said the animal attempted to drag his son over the fence, but failed and dropped the bleeding child, before disappearing out into the bush.
Leopard Shot Dead
The park said it was “an unfortunate risk that staff experience when having to live and work in environments like the Kruger National Park. These events are very rare occurrences, and always tragic when they do occur”.
It also stated that a team of rangers had hunted the leopard down and shot it.
“Immediately upon hearing of the incident, the section ranger, his lance corporal – with help from the regional ranger – went out to search for the animal. The offending animal was found and shot dead to remove the danger of another person falling victim.
In parks like the KNP, predators do interact with tourists and staff, and at times it may result in species like leopard getting habituated to people and losing their fear,”