UPDATE and VIDEO: Leopard mauls tour operator in Kruger

Photo: Latest Sightings - Kruger on Facebook.

Leopard injured by guide’s vehicle during attack

Update:  Friday July 3, 2015, 12:45

Hanti Schrader

MBOMBELA – Information received by Lowvelder indicates that the guide of the Nhongo Safari vehicle, Mr Curtis Plumb, who was attacked by a leopard in the Kruger National Park (KNP) yesterday, was protecting his guests when the predator wanted to climb into the vehicle.

He apparently tried to push the leopard out of the vehicle with his arm when it attacked him. This is according to Ms Verity Cherry, wife of Managing Director of Nhongo Safaris,  Mr Dean Cherry.

Cherry said,  “I’m sorry but we cannot comment any further, as we have been told by the South African Tourism Association (SATSA) and South African National Parks (SANParks) to wait for a report about the incident.”

She added that Plumb was not very badly mauled, although he was still in shock. He was still in Mediclinic Nelspruit this morning.

Reports from park officials and eye witnesses stated that the guide was trying to herd the leopard for the benefit of his quests, for clearer view.

KNP spokesman Ms Laura Mukhwevho, added that the animal was put down by rangers.  She added that the animal was estimated to have been between 16 and 18 years old.  She confirmed that, although the animal had injuries from fighting with another leopard, it was run over by the front wheel Plumb’s open safari vehicle.

Leopard attack KNP

This photo was posted on Latest Sightings – Kruger on Facebook and was taken by Rudi Fourie.


Leopard put down after attacking tour operator

Update: Thursday July 2, 18:25

Nicolene Smalman and Hanti Schrader

MBOMBELA – The leopard which attacked tour guide Mr Curtis Plumb (38) in the Kruger National Park earlier today, has been euthanized.

Ms Helene Boshoff posted a photo of the leopard hanging onto Plumb’s arm on Camps and Roads of Kruger Facebook page. Several Facebook users commented that the animal appeared to have been sick.

Mr Mario Paul, also a safari guide, confirmed this. “I drove past the leopard too. It appeared very thin and ill and showed a lot of interest in the vehicles,” he said.

The leopard as photographed by Mr Arno Pietersen.

The leopard as photographed by Mr Arno Pietersen.


At the time of this update, Ms Robyn Baard, spokesman for Mediclinic Nelspruit where Plumb is currently being treated, said a doctor was still busy assessing his wounds.

SANParks issued a media statement, saying that the incident occurred just after 13:00 on the Alpha Loop on the H4-1 just outside Skukuza Camp.

“According to eye witnesses, the guide was with about eight tourists on his vehicle and watching the leopard some two metres from it. The animal cunningly disappeared, probably went around the guide’s side while the group was still searching for it.

“The guide was relaxed when suddenly the leopard leapt and grabbed his arm, trying to jump into the vehicle.

“Everybody in the vehicle started hitting the leopard with any object they had with them. The leopard would not let go of the guide’s arm; until a tourist from another vehicle rushed and repeatedly used his vehicle to scare off the animal and that is when it eventually let go.

“We would like to thank the tourist from another vehicle for his quick and decisive action as he saved the guide and tourists’ lives. It is suspected that the leopard was fighting with another one as its hind was badly injured. The other leopard was spotted in the area watching from a distance,” General manager of Communications and Marketing, Mr William Mabasa, said.

The dead leopard. Photo: Sanparks

The dead leopard. Photo: Sanparks

According to spiralhorntours.co.za, Plumb is originally from the United Kingdom. He came to South Africa due to his love of the bush and nature. “He has a passion for travelling and has travelled through large parts of East and Southern Africa, before returning to South Africa to train as a guide. Curtis has been a guide ever since. He has been guiding in the Kruger National Park since 2011 and is still enjoying the bush as much as when he just started,” the page read.


Thursday July 2, 2015, 16:52

SKUKUZA – A tour guide was injured when a leopard attacked him inside his open safari vehicle in the Kruger National Park (KNP) earlier this afternoon.

A massive fight erupted between him and the predator at what started out as a normal leopard sighting on the road between Skukuza and Lower Sabie at about 12:30.

According to Ms Gerty Greyling, a paramedic of Lifemed, Mr Curtis Plumb (38) of Nhongo Safari Tours, stopped at the sighting with a tour group.

“He saw a woman in another vehicle hanging out halfway, photographing the animal. He warned her to get back into the car,” Greyling said.

The leopard, which had been lying in the grass, got up and walked around Plumb’s vehicle. It suddenly jumped up and grabbed his arm.

“The leopard jumped inside the vehicle and Plumb apparently started hitting the vehicle with his other fist,” Greyling said. The predator got hold of his other arm and another occupant inside Plumb’s vehicle threw a bag at the leopard.

The animal wasn’t deterred by this either and Plumb reversed the car. The cat jumped onto the bonnet. “Plumb then noticed a vehicle behind him and slammed on the brakes on which the leopard fell off,” he added.

Lifemed was summoned to Skukuza where it met Plumb at the local doctor’s rooms. “It’s difficult to elaborate on the extent of his injuries. The wound will most likely be cleaned in theatre and only then will one see how deep the lacerations are,” Greyling said.

Ms Robyn Baard, spokesman for Mediclinic Nelspruit, said at 17:00 that Plumb had arrived there 45 minutes prior. She couldn’t confirm his condition at the time.


This follows a recent incident that made international headlines at The Lion Park in which a Game of Thrones special effects editor was killed in a lion attack. Read about it here: Lion attack victim identified as Game of Thrones special effects editor


• Other leopard attacks

Ranger killed by leopard at Malalane Gate, Kruger National Park

Mr. Joseph Mathebula (52) a Game Ranger survived a leopard attack

Leopard kills man, attacks local farmer

Charles Swart, a student ranger from Mangosuthu Technical College, is killed by a leopard

Leopard kills boy in KNP





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