The South African National Parks (SANParks) says it has concluded its investigations into the abuse of a dead leopard – which was caught on film in a video which went viral; and has started implementing corrective measures… including banning the man who was seen striking the leopard’s face from entering the Kruger National Park again.
The leopard had been euthanised (shot dead) after an attack on a concession staff member who was on his way to work. It was the second attack in a short space of time, in the same vicinity.
In a statement today, SANParks explained that the leopard had been found and euthanised close to employees’ living quarters (within 100m), and a crowd had subsequently gathered around the dead leopard. A Management Incident Report found that there was insufficient crowd control.
The Report made recommendations to SANParks on ways to minimise such incidents occurring in the future, and to limit human wildlife conflict.
According to the report, the official procedures had been followed correctly in deciding to euthanise the leopard.
The problems arose during the recovery of the carcass after the Ranger Corporal asked for assistance from bystanders to get the carcass from the bushes. It was at this point that the incident – which took place in the administrative area of Skukuza – was filmed.
SANParks said: “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.”
The Management Report also recommended that the KNP Code of Conduct should be revisited and communicated to visitors and residents; and that procedures should be amended to improve the response to crowd control situations following an animal being euthanised near to humans.
SANParks also wished the two individuals who were injured, a speedy and full recovery.