Following a video which circulated on various media platforms recently, South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a statement that it had started implementing corrective measures after it concluded its investigations. This after a leopard was euthanised following an attack on a concession staff member who was on his way to work. The attack was the second on an individual in almost the same vicinity.
A Management incident report has been completed with recommendations to the SANParks Board and the Minister on ways to minimise the possibility of such incidences re-occurring.The Management report found that official policies and procedures were followed in the decision and actions that led to the euthanasia of the leopard.Problems were unfortunately experienced during the recovery of the carcass after the Ranger Corporal asked for assistance from bystanders to assist in retrieving the carcass from the bushes. The incident took place in the administrative area of Skukuza less than 100 metres from the employees living quarters. After the leopard had been euthanised some residents gathered on the road. It was found that the rangers did not take adequate precautions to control this process and it was at this point that the incident captured on video took place.
All identified SANParks employees were questioned and submitted statements. The individual who struck the leopard is not a SANParks employee and has been barred from entering the Kruger National Park. Disciplinary action is ongoing for all SANParks officials as well as the individual who filmed the incident.
In addition to making recommendations on how to limit future incidences of human wildlife conflict, the management report recommended revisiting and communicating the KNP Code of Conduct to visitors and residents alike as well as amending Standard Operating Procedures to improve actions on potential crowd control in the very few incidences where animals may be euthanised in close proximity to humans.
SANParks also wished the two individuals who were injured, a speedy and full recovery.