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Leopard kills Kruger Park employee

Published Mar 8, 2001

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Kim Helfrich

A 49-year-old Kruger National Park employee has been killed by a leopard near the Skukuza personnel village.

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Kotie de Beer, wife of park manager Nick de Beer, died after being attacked by the leopard on Wednesday while she was taking her usual afternoon walk between the staff village and the nursery, near the Skukuza Golf Club.

This is the second incident in the past eight years in which a staff member has been attacked by a leopard, but the first time the attack has resulted in death.

Kruger National Park director David Mabunda said the leopard was hunted down and killed by rangers soon after the fatal attack.

"The necropsy performed on the dead animal suggests it was a sick animal that could not cope in the dense leopard population around Skukuza. It ventured into the village where there were opportunities for it to catch small mammals and hide from others of its species," he said.

Unlike restcamps used by visitors to Kruger, the staff village at Skukuza is not fenced. It is not uncommon to find lion wandering around, while warthog, impala and other smaller game species are regularly seen on the streets and near the golf club.

Kotie, who had lived at the park for 15 years, is survived by her husband, a son, daughter and grandson.

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