A two-year-old boy has been killed by a leopard in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
The leopard managed to get into a fenced off area of the park and grab the boy.
Family members rushed the child to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The park said said such attacks were “very rare,” but rangers killed the leopard to “remove the danger of another person falling victim”.
Ike Phaahla from Kruger National Park said the exact circumstances of the toddler’s death remained unclear.
He said that animals were naturally afraid of human beings and didn’t usually get close to them.
Park visitors followed strict rules to stay safe from animals, such as locking gates and travelling in groups, Mr Phaahla said.
He added that a leopard would be “very brave” to attack a fully grown adult but might “take a chance with a child between two to six years old”.
A silhouette of a leopard in a treeImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionLeopards can get into fenced off areas by climbing trees
He said that people visiting and working in the park were given as much protection as possible with accommodation fenced off to keep animals out, but said they found ways of getting in.
“We have to respect that they are wild animals,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of South African National Parks, Fundisile Mketeni offered “prayers and thoughts” to the child’s family.
“This is the risk we live with on a daily basis as we help conserve our species for the benefit of all,” he said.