KNP: A 2-year-old mauled to death by leopard in Malelane camp
Kruger National Park (KNP) can confirm that a leopard killed a staff member's son on Wednesday 5 June at the Malelane technical services living quarters, Letaba Herald reports.
"The toddler was only two and a half years old. The incident took place at 20:00 and the boy was certified dead by doctors at the Shongwe hospital after being rushed there by family members, " Ike Phaala, spokesperson for KNP said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of South African National Parks, Fundisile Mketeni has extended his condolences to the family of the deceased, saying: "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. It is never easy to lose a loved one, especially under such tragic circumstances. This is the risk we live with on a daily basis as we help conserve our species for the benefit of all. May the young toddler's soul rest in eternal peace?" Mketeni concluded.
"Upon hearing of the incident, the section ranger, 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, " Phaala said.
According to Phaala, in parks like KNP predators do interact with tourists and staff.
"It may result in species like a leopard getting habituated to people and losing their fear. The change in natural behaviour can then lead to unfortunate incidents such as this. This is an unfortunate risk that staff experience when having to live and work in environments like KNP. These events are very rare occurrences but always tragic when they do occur, " he said.
KNP management has sent a delegation to the family to give moral support and professional counselling will be provided to all involved. The name of the deceased has been withheld and will be released once all family members have been notified.
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The name of the deceased has been withheld and will be released once all family members have been notified.