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October 4, 2010

Leopard shot at Skukuza for...being a leopard?

Leopard Relaxing
4 October 2010

This is so sad really.

Apparently over the weekend, a leopard wandered into the Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park. There seems to be mystery about how the leopard managed to find its way into one of the guestrooms, but it then jumped onto another guest house, apparently following the monkeys that sneak into the camp.

Although the leopard seems to have posed no risk at all to the humans inside the camp, the game capture team decided they would rather shoot the leopard. It was trapped in the courtyard and then euthanised.

A spokeswoman for the park said that if the leopard was captured and released nearby, it would have returned to its favourite hunting grounds. I ask, if the camp was its favourite hunting ground, why had no one noticed it before? I understand that the animal is dangerous, but the fact is that the park is a nature reserve. Surely the entire point of having a game reserve is to preserve the life that lives within it at all costs!?

I would also like to mention that every person who enters the park does so at their own risk - that there are wild animals in the park goes without saying, and if we truly want to preserve the life that lives within it, I really don't think that euthanasia was an option at all.

Do the rangers at the park not have tranquilizer guns? Surely this would have been a more intelligent option?

I just get so frustrated because the whole purpose of the preserve is to save life. Aargh.