A toddler has been killed after being mauled by a leopard at a park in South Africa.
Kruger National Park (KNP) confirmed the death of the two-year-old boy in a statement on Thursday, and said he was the son of a member of staff.
The leopard had entered the living quarters of the Malelane Technical Services in the park on Wednesday evening, before attacking the child.
Family members took the boy to Shongwe hospital in Schoemansdal, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
Park rangers were sent out to search for the leopard, which was eventually found and shot dead.
This action was “to remove the danger of another person falling victim,” the park said in its statement.
It added that such incidents were “very rare”, but that it was an “unfortunate risk” that park staff were forced to face while living in such environments.
The statement 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.”
Fundisile Mketeni, the chief executive officer of South African National Parks, sent his “prayers and thoughts” to the family of the boy.
He said: “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.”
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