Tragedy struck Tuesday night in South Africa’s Kruger park when a leopard attacked and killed a 2-year-old boy.
A spokesperson for the Kruger park said the leopard managed to enter the staff living quarters where the boy was staying and mauled him. The boy was the child of one of the park’s employees.
He was immediately taken to a hospital in the nearby town of Shongwe by family members after the attack but died at the hospital.
“The toddler was only 30 months old,” the park said in a statement on Thursday.
The incident was “tragic” and “very rare,” a spokesperson of the park said, adding that “in parks like the KNP predators do interact with tourists and staff.”
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the family during this trying time, we wish them strength and will give them all the support they need as an organization,” CEO of South African National Parks, Fundisile Mketeni, said in a press statement.
“It is never easy to lose a loved one especially under such tragic circumstances, this is the risk we live with on a daily basis as we help conserve our species for the benefit of all. May the young toddler’s soul rest in eternal peace.”
The leopard was later found and shot dead by a ranger at the park.