Father of boy mauled by leopard saw his two-year-old in animal's jaws

A leopard at KNP.
A leopard at KNP. Photo credit: Getty

The father of the two-year-old mauled to death by a leopard at a South Africa park has spoken out about the tragic moment he saw his son attacked.

On Wednesday night (local time), at the Kruger National Park (KNP), Courtney Ntimane was attacked and killed by leopard while at his father's cottage in one of the park's fenced-off living quarters.

His father, Isaiah, told local outlet The Star that the leopard climbed a tree and jumped the fence into the quarter's yard at roughly 8pm at night.

He works at the park as a water operator and said his son and wife had come to visit him at work when the incident occurred.

Isaiah had arrived back at his cottage - not knowing that his son had followed him and had left his mum at a nearby barbeque - when he heard screams.

He rushed to see what was happening when he saw his son hanging from the leopard's jaws. After attempting to drag the boy away, the animal dropped the bleeding child and ran off.

"We rushed him to Shongwe Hospital, but when we arrived he was already dead," he told The Star.

Isaiah is traumatised by the incident, and cannot work or go to the cottage due to flashbacks to the events.

The park said such attacks were rare. It was speculated the animal had become too accustomed to humans, and the "change in natural behaviour" can lead to "unfortunate incidents such as this," a spokesperson said.

"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 change in natural behaviour can then lead to unfortunate incidents such as this."

The leopard was later shot dead.

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