JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A leopard mauled a guide in an attack on an open tourist safari vehicle in South Africa’s flagship wildlife park Thursday, authorities said.
The attack happened in Kruger National Park as a guide and his passengers watched a leopard about 6.5 feet (two meters) from their vehicle, the park said. The leopard “cunningly disappeared” around the side of the vehicle and then leaped and grabbed the guide’s arm, according to a park statement.
Tourists in the vehicle hit the leopard with whatever objects they had, but the leopard only let go of the guide’s arm after a tourist in another vehicle drove up and scared it away, the park said.
Park spokesman William Mabasa said the guide was able to drive the vehicle away from the scene, and was treated for wounds on his right arm and released.
Rangers later shot and killed the leopard, which was ill, emaciated and also injured after being hit by the vehicle carrying the guide and tourists, according to Mabasa.
He said tourists who get close to leopards, lions and other potentially dangerous animals should be vigilant.
“Never take your eyes off the animal because you don’t know what the animal is thinking,” he said.