Three young adults and an elderly woman were brutally attacked by a leopard in Matsulu, outside Mbombela in Mpumalanga. The incident which occurred in the early morning of Thursday, 21 July 2022 left the community fearing for their lives and in shock.
Four victims in hospital after an attack by a leopard
The four victims were admitted to the nearby hospital the early morning after the attack. Only one person has been reportedly discharged from the hospital.
The dangerous animal is believed to have escaped from the nearby Kruger National Park for greener pastures in the small area. The small village is situated near the Kruger National Park, it has farms nearby and a Crocodile river which the animals often trespass to feed themselves or drink from the river. It is no surprise to the villagers that wild animals trespass into the area, as this is a normal occurrence. Those that live near the fence are often lucky to spot the animals first, however, the community is always warned by safety authorities to be vigilant and act with caution when confronted by a situation of this nature.
Safety intervened after four people were already ambushed by a leopard
The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) said they are aware of the incident and many others that have occurred over the years. The parks’ agency has appealed to the residents to report such incidences to them [MTPA] so that qualified officials can handle the animals, or furthermore, they can report to the local police station.
Meanwhile, the SanParks has maintained that they cannot comment on animals that are reportedly roaming in nearby areas as they are not sure if they [animals] are from the park or the nearby game reserve.
The South African National Civic Organization (SANCO) in Matsulu said over the years, animals have been trespassing into the area without harming anyone.
The SANCO Chairperson JK Siboza said villagers have been killing the animals with the help of MTPA and feeding on them. He said wild animals such as elephants, buffalos as well as lions have been successfully killed and eaten by the residents in the area.
The community of Matsulu today killed a leopard, they manhandled it and it was fortunately overpowered and subsequently killed by young men in the area. By the time officials came, it was already dead.said Siboza.
Residents demand Kruger National Park to take accountability
Meanwhile, residents in the area have voiced mixed emotions about the incidents. While some enjoy feasting on the free wild meat from the park when animals trespass, some said KNP much be held accountable for failure to provide safety for the community of Matsulu. The resident said the police never respond on time on such matters, adding that all credit goes to the brave heroes who managed to kill the deadly animal with speed.
Kruger National Park should be held accountable for misconduct and failure to provide safety for the community of Matsulu. A member of the community was attacked in the early hours of the morning today by a deadly animal named a leopard. They shall be held accountable for any injury caused by their deadly animal. Such an act of failure to provide safety is putting peoples life’s at risk. If it wasn’t for the brave community members to stand against this deadly animal, the worst could have occurred. SAPS should also be held accountable because they were notified of this incident but they failed to respond in time.said one resident.