Leopard SLAPPING sparks legal frenzy against SanParks personnel. SANParks said nine people have been identified in a video being present during a filming of a dead leopard being repeatedly. The park sent a stern warning and one employee has since been suspended.
SANParks probe seven employees
The South African National Parks (SANParks) is investigating an incident involving nine people who are implicated in an incident that took place at the Kruger National Park (KNP) on Sunday 17 July 2022. The park said it has taken steps to positively identify all persons in the video.
SANParks has taken steps to positively identify all persons in the video and the organisation can confirm that four of the nine implicated persons are SANParks employees and three are Rangers. A further three individuals are employed by concessions who operate in the Park and the last one is employed as an Environmental Monitor.said Ike Phaahla.
In the video shared on Wednesday, a man can be seen slapping a dead leopard repeatedly while others watch on.
Again we strongly condemns the behaviour depicted in the images captured on video after a leopard had been euthanized in the Kruger National Park, and was then struck by onlookers. Such actions are contrary to the ethos of the organisation whose primary goal is to conserve biodiversity and act as the custodian of our wildlife.said Phaahla in a statement.
Leopard euthanized after attacking two employees
The park’s spokesperson Ike Phaahla said investigations are well underway. He said statements have been taken from Rangers and other employees present, and a small number of statements are still outstanding and will be collected.
The incident occurred after Rangers euthanized a leopard on Sunday, 17 July 2022 and the leopard was being recovered to be taken for a post-mortem.
The park said the leopard was shot just 30 meters away from where an employee from Shalati Concession, en route to work, had been attacked shortly before by a leopard. This was the second such attack on a worker employed in the Park since 26 June and was in the same area as the previous attack.
In line with SANParks’ policies and Standard Operating Procedures on the management of damage causing animals, a decision was taken to euthanise the leopard to safeguard human life.
Phaahla said the ninth person who was filmed striking the euthanized leopard was visiting the Park and is not a SANParks employee, adding that the park is also aware of his identity, and is taking legal advice on sanctions to be imposed on him.
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The State Vet’s post-mortem report confirms that the cause of death was from bullet wounds and not as a result of any other actions.
He said one employee has been suspended pending disciplinary actions.
Based on the evidence received, one employee has been suspended pending disciplinary action, and line management is finalising their approach concerning other employees who may have transgressed SANParks’ policies and code of conduct. This process will be completed by Friday, 22 July 2022. SANParks once again states that the actions of these individuals run counter to conservation management and the ethos of the organisation. During next week, a campaign will be embarked upon amongst all employees within the Kruger National Park to reinforce these values and ethics.
The organisation said it is committed to managing the outcomes openly and transparently whilst respecting the requirements of all legislation about this regrettable incident.
He further added that the park’s management is aiming to have a final report completed by Wednesday, 27 July 2022 which will make recommendations to the SANParks Board on how to ensure that such incidences do not occur again.