Mr Denny says that his six-year-old boy, Kellan Denny, is in shock but recovering well. He is at his home in Johannesburg. He had been snatched (bitten and dragged away) by a leopard while playing with his brother in a bush camp.
Kellan and his brother Kai, 8, were running along a low wall in the N’tsiri private nature reserve. It borders the famous Kruger National Park. The leopard leapt at Kellan, grabbed him in his teeth at the shoulder and dragged him for about 30 meters.
The reserve manager says that it was an extremely rare (actually unique to this point) incident. It is the first time it has happened at this park. The male leopard was hunting and perhaps he was short of suitable prey and chose a human instead. It may be that the leopard’s prey is being taken by humans. I don’t know, but this is one reason for the diminishing numbers of many wild cat species on the planet.
Full grown male leopards can weigh up to 201 pounds (91 kilograms). They are opportunistic hunters and not choosy as to their prey but exceptionally rarely choose humans – although children are more likely to be prey (they certainly are for the puma in America1). The are very capable animals and often, particularly in India, live near human settlements. The appear to have lost their fear of humans because they are around humans a lot. This has been forced upon them by expanding human numbers.
It is pure luck it seems that the leopard dropped Kellan after 30 meters. His father immediately picked him up and rushed him back to the rondavel (a traditional circular African dwelling with a conical thatched roof). A neighbour’s wife was able to assist as she is a nurse.
Kellan was assessed by a doctor and taken to hospital where he received stitches, a tetanus jab and antibiotics. I presume that the antibiotics are to protect against a bacterial infection that might be deposited in the boy’s skin by the teeth of the leopard.
Kellan’s brother is a bit traumatised by the whole experience but both boys are being brave.
There is another story on PoC about a cheetah attack in South Africa. The cheetah was behind a fence but forced his way partially through it to bite a boy.
Note: the leopard would be a common leopard which has the widest distribution of all the wild cats.
Source: Times Newspaper
Ref 1: Puma attacks in America are exceptionally rare.
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