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Toddler killed by leopard in South African national park

The two-year-old boy was the son of a staff member.

Image: DPA/PA Images

A TWO-YEAR-old boy has died after being attacked by a leopard at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

The park today confirmed the death of the boy, who was a staff member’s son. The attack on the toddler occurred at 8pm local time last night.

BBC reports the leopard managed to access a fenced off area of the park where living quarters are located and grab the boy. He was rushed to hospital by family members and was pronounced dead on arrival.

CEO of South African National Parks, Fundisile Mketeni extended his condolences to the family of the toddler:

“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.”

The park said that immediately upon hearing of the incident, staff launched a search and the leopard was found and shot dead.

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“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,” the park said in a statement.

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 the KNP. These events are very rare occurrences but always tragic when they do occur.

“KNP management has sent a delegation to the family to give moral support and professional counselling will be provided to all involved.”

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