Ranger’s 3-Year-Old Son Killed After Leopard Dragged Him Off into Bush at Safari Lodge in Uganda
A hunt is underway for a leopard that snatched and mauled a toddler to death in one of Uganda’s most popular national parks.
The little boy, 3, was with his nanny in staff quarters in the Queen Elizabeth National Park when he wandered out of the safari lodge following his nanny on Friday night. The boy’s mother is a park ranger and was working at the time.
A local newspaper, The Kampala Post, reported the boy’s name as Elisha Nabugyere. As the toddler followed behind his nanny, who was not aware he was there, a leopard pounced on the little boy and dragged him off.
His father, Francis Manana Nabugyere, told the outlet his son’s skull “and some other bones” were found later.
Nabugyere said the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) laid his son’s remains to rest in a coffin.
“I have not talked to them about the incident but I would expect something reasonable to compensate me, although my son’s life is gone,” he said, adding UWA should do more to protect staff and their children.
Bashir Hangi, a wildlife authority spokesman, told the Telegraph the nanny tried to chase after the animal but was unsuccessful.
“The maid was not aware the child followed her,” Hangi said. “She heard the kid scream for help, she intervened but it was too late — the leopard had vanished with it in the bush and a search was mounted until we got the skull the next day.”
Hangi told the outlet park rangers were still trying to find the leopard “with the intention of capturing” it and “removing it from the wild because once it has eaten human flesh, the temptations are high to eat another human being. It becomes dangerous.”
The toddler’s death comes a week after a video depicted the owner of a South African park attacked by one of his lions.
Mike Hodge, 72, is the owner of the Marakele Animal Sanctuary in Thabazimbi, South Africa, where he was mauled by a lion at his park after he entered the animal’s enclosure to investigate a strange odor that was agitating the lion.
Footage shows Hodge walking towards the exit of the enclosure when he is suddenly pursued by the male big cat. The park owner tries to exit the metal door but is grabbed by the animal near the neck and dragged deeper into the enclosure. Onlookers can be heard throughout the video screaming in distress, with some also calling for help. Eventually, a shot is fired, likely from the game warden, which causes the lion to drop Hodge.
After the attack, Hodge was rushed to Mediclinic Hospital with neck and jaw injuries reports The Sun.
“There is no information coming out of the hospital but all I know is that he is alive and his wife and daughter are with him,” an unnamed female friend of Hodge told The Sun. “I do not know how badly hurt he is, but he is a lovely guy and I wish him all the best.”