Distraught dad relives moment leopard killed his 2-year-old son - report

The father of two-year-old Courtney Ntimane, who was attacked by a leopard in the Kruger National Park on Wednesday, has described his pain over the horrific attack, saying he keeps getting flashbacks, The Star reported on Friday. 

Courtney was killed after a leopard bit the toddler at the staff living quarters on Wednesday evening, News24 reported. 

The incident took place at the Malelane technical services living quarters. Doctors later certified the boy dead at Shongwe Hospital in Mpumalanga.

READ: 2-year-old boy dies after leopard bite in Kruger National Park

The boy's father, 35-year-old Isaiah Ntimane, who works as a water operator in the park, told The Star on Thursday that his wife and son had come from Bushbuckridge to visit him at work, and that they were having a braai when the incident happened.

"I was walking to my cottage and he [Courtney] followed me. I didn’t notice that he was behind me, because I left him there playing with his mother’s phone. And just when I got to my cottage and was closing the door behind me, I heard screams coming from outside," he reportedly said.

Ntimane reportedly said that he rushed out to see what the commotion was about and found his son hanging from the leopard's jaws. He said the animal attempted to drag Courtney over the fence, but failed and dropped the bleeding child, before disappearing into the bushes.

'The memory is painful'

"We rushed him to Shongwe Hospital, but when we arrived he was already dead. They put him on a bed, and I looked into his eyes and saw no sign of life," Ntimane told The Star.

Ntimane added that it was hard for him and his wife.

"I cannot even leave my cottage or go to work, because when I walk out, I get flashbacks of what happened. The memory of it all is painful," Ntimane reportedly said.

READ MORE: 14 lions escape from Kruger National Park, Phalaborwa residents warned

Fundisile Mketeni, chief executive officer of South African National Parks, extended his condolences to the family: "Our prayers are with the family during this trying time. We wish them strength and will give them all the support they need as an organisation," News24 reported.

Leopard shot dead

The park said it was "an unfortunate risk that staff experience when having to live and work in environments like the KNP. These events are very rare occurrences, but always tragic when they do occur".

It said that a team of rangers had hunted the leopard down and shot it.

"Immediately upon hearing of the incident, the section ranger, his lance corporal - with help from the regional ranger - went out to search for the animal. The offending animal was found and shot dead to remove the danger of another person falling victim.

"In parks like the KNP, predators do interact with tourists and staff, and at times it may result in species like leopard getting habituated to people and losing their fear," the park said.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
What's your take on the task team looking into Russian President Vladimir Putin's possible visit to SA in August?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I doubt they'll find a legal loophole
24% - 1370 votes
Putin is coming, it's just a formality
76% - 4247 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.