A two-year-old boy has been killed by a leopard in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
According to reports, the leopard managed to access a fenced off area of the park and grab the boy, who was the son of an employee. Family members rushed the boy to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The park said in a statement that such attacks were “very rare”, but rangers killed the leopard to “remove the danger”. Ike Phaahla, a spokesman for the park, said the exact circumstances of the toddler’s death remains unclear.
He said that animals were naturally afraid of human beings and did not usually get close to them. “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,” Mr Phaahla said.
He said that people visiting and working in the park were given as much protection as possible with accommodation fenced off to keep animals out, but said they found ways of getting in. “We have to respect that they are wild animals,” he said.