Kruger National Park rangers and other employees were filmed abusing a euthanised Leopard. SANParks says their conduct was contrary to the ethos of the organisation whose primary goal is to act as the custodian of wildlife.
Rangers and employees at the Kruger National Park have had their statements taken after a video surfaced of them allegedly abusing a euthanised Leopard.
According to SANParks, custodian of the Kruger Park, four of the nine people seen slapping the dead animal are SANParks employees — three are rangers and one is employed as an environmental monitor. One person seen striking the Leopard was a visitor to the park.
So far, one employee has been suspended pending disciplinary action. “Line management is finalising their approach with respect to other employees who may have transgressed SANParks’ policies and code of conduct,” SANParks said. Regarding the visitor, SANParks said it “is taking legal advice on sanctions to be imposed on him”.
The incident happened on Sunday after an employee from Shalati Concession was attacked by a Leopard. According to SANParks, this was the second attack on an employee in the park in the same area since June 26.
The Leopard was shot 30 metres from where the attack happened. “In line with SANParks’ policies and standard operating procedures on the management of damage-causing animals, a decision was taken to euthanise the Leopard to safeguard human life.”
On the abuse of the animal’s body, SANParks said it “strongly condemns the behaviour depicted in the images captured on video … Such actions are contrary to the ethos of the organisation whose primary goal is to conserve biodiversity and act as the custodian of our wildlife”.
“The actions of these individuals run counter to conservation management and the ethos of the organisation. During the next week a campaign will be embarked upon among all employees within the Kruger National Park to reinforce these values and ethics.
“The organisation commits to managing the outcomes in an open and transparent manner while respecting the requirements of legislation pertaining to this regrettable incident.
“Management is aiming to have a final report completed by Wednesday, July 27, which will make recommendations to the SANParks board on how to ensure such incidences do not occur again.”
South African National Parks (SANParks) Investigation Findings
The South African National Parks (SANParks) says it has concluded its investigations into the abuse of a dead leopard – which was caught on film in a video which went viral; and has started implementing corrective measures… including banning the man who was seen striking the leopard’s face from entering the Kruger National Park again.
In a statement, SANParks explained that the Leopard had been found and euthanised close to employees’ living quarters (within 100m), and a crowd had subsequently gathered around the dead Leopard. A Management Incident Report found that there was insufficient crowd control.
The Report made recommendations to SANParks on ways to minimise such incidents occurring in the future, and to limit human wildlife conflict.
According to the report, the official procedures had been followed correctly in deciding to euthanise the Leopard.
The problems arose during the recovery of the carcass after the Ranger Corporal asked for assistance from bystanders to get the carcass from the bushes. It was at this point that the incident – which took place in the administrative area of Skukuza – was filmed.
SANParks said: “All identified SANParks employees were questioned and submitted statements. The individual who struck the Leopard is not a SANParks employee and has been barred from entering the Kruger National Park. Disciplinary action is ongoing for all SANParks officials as well as the individual who filmed the incident.”
The Management Report also recommended that the KNP Code of Conduct should be revisited and communicated to visitors and residents; and that procedures should be amended to improve the response to crowd control situations following an animal being euthanised near to humans.
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