A leopard snatched and ate a 3-year-old child in a national park in Uganda, and now authorities are searching for the big cat for fear that she’s developed a taste for human flesh.
As Yahoo News reports, the 3-year-old son of a park ranger at Queen Elizabeth National Park was at the staff quarters when the incident happened. The quarters are apparently not surrounded by a fence, and the child, who was in the care of a nanny, followed her outside, says wildlife authority spokesman Bashir Hangi.
“The maid was not aware the child followed her. She heard the kid scream for help, she intervened but it was too late the leopard had vanished with it in the bush.”
Authorities mounted a frantic search for the preschooler, but it was too late. They found his skull the next day.
Now the search has turned to the leopard herself (who is being referred to with feminine pronouns in this article for the sake of simplicity). Hangi notes that the animal is now likely to have developed a taste for human flesh.
“The hunt is on with the intention of capturing the leopard 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.”
A toddler has been snatched and eaten by a leopard at a national park https://t.co/0aHoSRUBgx
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 7, 2018
In fact, the notion that some predatory animals develop a fondness for human flesh appears to be borne out by observation. In India, for example, as Seeker reported at the time, a tiger killed as many as nine people in Jim Corbett National Park in Uttar Pradesh. Authorities believe the animal had developed a taste for humans. Further, that’s not uncommon, says Belinda Wright from the Wildlife Protection Society of India.
“They do get a taste for humans. But I think (attacks happen) more because we’re very easy prey. As a tiger gets older, or is disabled in some way, we’re just very, very easy as we bumble around on our two legs.”
Meanwhile, this week’s attack on the Ugandan toddler is the latest in a series of animal attacks to make the international news. Just last week, as The Telegraph reported at the time, British safari park owner Michael Hodge was mauled by a lion in front of horrified witnesses. Fortunately, Mr. Hodge survived his injuries; the lion, Shamba, was killed on the spot.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s premier tourist attractions, bringing in much-needed tourist dollars to the African country.