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SANParks to report back on Kruger leopard attack

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Shopprice Africa

Pretoria – The SA National Parks (SANParks) will on Thursday host a briefing in Pretoria where it will reveal whether the tourist guide who was mauled by a leopard in the Kruger National Park earlier this month was in any way at fault.

SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said there had been a public outcry after the animal was put down following the attack, with some saying the guide was to blame for the incident.

At the time, William Mabasa, SANParks general manager, communications and marketing, said this was due to the extent of the injuries that the animal had suffered.

On Wednesday, Thakuli said: “We have done what others would call an autopsy on the animal to determine its status [the extent of the injuries].”

This would prove whether SANParks acted accordingly in putting the animal down.

The attack on the tourist guide was captured on photographs by a visitor at the park.

After the attack, SANParks released statements from eyewitnesses that said the tourist guide was with about six to eight tourists in his Open Safari Vehicle and they had been watching the leopard for some time.

“The animal cunningly disappeared, probably went around the guide’s [driver’s] side while the group was still searching for it. The guide had relaxed on the OSV when suddenly the leopard leapt and grabbed his arm, trying to jump into the vehicle,” Mabasa had said.

According to the SANParks statement the tourists started hitting the leopard with any object they had but the leopard would not let go of the guide’s arm.

“A tourist from another vehicle repeatedly used his vehicle to scare off the animal until it eventually let go. From the eyewitnesses who were there nobody provoked the scene. The exact distance was not measured, so we can’t say with certainty that it was two metres,” read the statement.

Said Mabasa: “When you are in a closed vehicle you can get as close as a metre. Being in an open vehicle you need to judge what is a safe distance but the most important thing is to create space to be able to react in any given situation.”

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