A Kruger National Park (KNP) staff member's 2-year-old son was killed after a leopard bit the toddler at the staff living quarters on Wednesday evening.
The incident took place at the Malelane technical services living quarters and doctors later certified the boy dead at Shongwe Hospital in Mpumalanga.
Fundisile Mketeni, chief executive officer of South African National Parks, extended his condolences to the family and said "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".
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".
"May the young toddler's soul rest in eternal peace," Mketeni added, saying "this is the risk we live with on a daily basis as we help conserve our species for the benefit of all".
The animal was shot "to remove the danger of another person falling victim".
The park's management sent a delegation to the family to give moral support and professional counselling.
The child has been identified as C Ntimana. The Schoemansdal police near Malalane are investigating.