The six-year-old boy who was mauled by a leopard on his holiday home near Hoedspruit in Mpumalanga, has returned to school after recovering from the wounds.
The boy, Kellan Denny was snatched by a large male leopard at his holiday home on Ntsiri Private Nature Reserve on Tuesday but his father, Justin, gave chase and saved his courageous little boy from the animal’s clutches and jaws, Lowvelder reported.
“It’s a miracle that my son is alive and that I was within three to four metres from him when the leopard attacked him. I was able to react quickly and I believe this is what saved his life,” said the boy`s father.
Kellan and his brother Kai, 8, were playing a running game up and down the wall that surrounds the boma area. The incident happened about four metres from the house.
The leopard pounced, knocked Kellan to the ground, pinned him, bit into his shoulder and then picked him up in his jaws and headed in the same direction from which it had attacked, dragged him through a mopani thicket.
“We were outside for 30 minutes and I would assume it slowly stalked, getting closer and closer and when Kellan went and stood on the wall to do another lap, the leopard pounced.
“Fortunately I was about three metres away and could give chase. With lots of shouting and screaming I followed the leopard for about 30 metres into the bush. By the grace of God the leopard dropped my son. It was a total miracle,” said Justin.
Kellan sustained four main bites, two directly behind his neck, one on his left shoulder and the other on his left arm pit.
He was taken to a medical facility in Hoedspruit where he received stitches.
“He is going to be fine but everything could have turned out so differently. We should all remember the bush remains unpredictable. There was nothing to suggest that this particular leopard was injured or old which is the norm when these attacks take place. It could just have been completely opportunistic given Kellan’s movement on the wall,” added Justin.
Apart from severe bruising and some internal bleeding, he is doing well after recovering for a few days at the family’s home. He returned to school on Thursday.
The manager on the farm confirmed by the spoor that it was a large male leopard. There is a high density of leopards on the farm which makes it difficult at this stage to determine which leopard was the culprit.
– Caxton News Service