6-Year-Old Boy Survives Leopard Attack In Kruger National Park

Anne Sewell

A 6-year-old boy narrowly escaped with his life on Tuesday during a leopard attack in a private game reserve bordering Kruger National Park in South Africa. Reportedly the boy, Kellan Denny of Johannesburg, was bitten on his left shoulder by a male leopard after it grabbed him and dragged him for around 30 meters before dropping him.

Kellan had been playing with friends on a narrow wall surrounding the entertainment area, outside the rondavel in the lodge where he was staying with his parents. The rondavels are reportedly situated out in the bush, where wild animals roam freely around them.

As reported by the Afrikaans news service Netwerk24, at the time of the incident, Kellan's parents, Justin and Karen Denny, were relaxing in their rondavel in the N'tsiri private nature reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park. According to the owner of one of the other rondavels, the children were happily playing outside when the leopard appeared from nowhere.

— Cape Town (@allcapetown) May 5, 2016

Denny ran after the leopard, shouting for others to come out to try to scare the animal and one guest, staying in a nearby rondavel, heard the commotion and ran outside, only to come face-to-face with the leopard. Another guest staying nearby heard the screaming and ran out, armed with an axe.

In all the noise and confusion, the leopard finally dropped Kellan and ran away into the bush, allowing his father to pick him up and carry him to safety.

According to Kellan's father, the boy had been running along the wall and had done around seven laps when they called him for lunch. Justin said, "He wanted to go back and do another lap."

"When he went back to the wall, that is when the leopard attacked."

As reported by the Mirror Online, the nurse immediately attended to Kellan's wounds and treated him for shock. Kellan was then taken to a hospital where the boy received stitches, a tetanus injection, and antibiotics.

Justin added that while at the time his focus was on chasing the leopard and ensuring Kellan was fine, the young boy's brother was also quite traumatized by the leopard attack, but was, apparently, being brave for his brother.

Reportedly since the attack Kellan's family has dubbed him "Leopard Boy." While still traumatized from the leopard attack, he is now fine and back at home.

Another guest at the game reserve told Netwerk 24 that the three men who chased after the leopard were heroes. However, he added that, while the incident had shaken everybody present at the lodge, the leopard will not be put down.

According to the manager of the camp, who asked not to be named, this was the first incident of this nature at the reserve in 40 years. The manager determined from the bite marks on the boy's shoulder that the leopard was male, adding, "The leopard was most likely hunting when it saw the boy."

— BWFC CHATTER (@ScottMacay) May 6, 2016

When a tourist in another vehicle attempted to scare the leopard away, it fell under the wheel and was badly injured, leading to the animal being put down.

[Photo via Flickr by Gimli62, cropped and resized/CC BY-NC 2.0]