Boy, 3, snatched and eaten by a leopard at Ugandan safari park

By @chelean on
Kirin, a seven-year-old male Amur (Far Eastern) leopard, yawns inside an open-air cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, October 21, 2016.
Kirin, a seven-year-old male Amur (Far Eastern) leopard, yawns inside an open-air cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, October 21, 2016. Reuters/Ilya Naymushin

A 3-year-old boy has been snatched and eaten by a leopard at the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. The boy, the son of a park ranger, was killed just outside their home at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff quarters on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Elisha Nabugyere apparently followed his nanny at the unfenced staff quarters when the leopard snatched him before running away. They unsuccessfully tried to rescue him. His remains, his skull and other bones, were recovered the following day.

“The maid was not aware the child followed her. She heard the kid scream for help, she intervened but it was too late; the leopard had vanished with him in the bush, and a search was mounted until we got the skull the next day,” wildlife authority spokesman Bashir Hangi said. “The hunt is on with the intention of capturing the leopard and removing it from the wild because once it has eaten human flesh, the temptations are high to eat another human being, it becomes dangerous.”

His father, SSP Francis Manana Nabugyere, told local paper Kampala Post that the boy’s remains have been buried. Elisha’s mother is also a park ranger. She was at the neighbour’s at the time of the incident.

“UWA gave us the coffin. I have not talked to them about the incident, but I would expect something reasonable to compensate me, although my son’s life is gone,” Nabugyere said, adding that he would want UWA to ensure the security of their staff and children.

UWA communications manager Bashir Hangi said the incident was unfortunate but did not mention compensation. “We have an arrangement for our staff who lose their lives or their loved ones in the line of duty,” he told Kampala Post. He added that they were considering relocating the leopard somewhere else as it wouldn’t do anymore to keep him in the park.

The tragedy is just one of the recent incidents involving animals in wildlife parks. Last week, the British owner of a park in South Africa was mauled by a lion he had raised since it was a cub. Mike Hodge, 71, is seen in a video being pounced on by the lion at the Marakele Animal Sanctuary in Thabazimbi, Limpopo. He suffered injuries to his neck and jack but luckily survived. The lion was shot dead.

An award-winning film director was headbutted to death by a giraffe earlier this month. Carlos Carvalho, 47, was shooting footage at a safari lodge in South Africa when the giraffe suddenly swung its neck at him, knocking him flying through the air. He was said to be taking closeups of the animal before the attack. He died of his injuries in a Johannesburg hospital.