Leopard kills toddler in South Africa’s Kruger park

This handout photo released by Durham University on April 19, 2017 shows a leopard at the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa, on June 25, 2012. (AFP)
Updated 07 June 2019

Leopard kills toddler in South Africa’s Kruger park

  • The attack occurred near Crocodile Bridge, a tourist rest camp near the park’s southern boundary

JOHANNESBURG: A leopard killed a two-year-old boy inside a fenced-off staff compound at South Africa’s Kruger national park, officials said Thursday.
“The toddler was only 30-months-old,” the park said in a statement. “The boy was certified dead by doctors at the Shongwe hospital after being rushed there by family members.”
The leopard attacked the boy on Wednesday evening after getting into the staff living quarters, which are separated from the rest of the park by an electrified fence.
A team of rangers hunted down the leopard and shot it dead to avoid the risk of a repeat, said the park, adding the big cat may have attacked as it was too accustomed to contact with humans.
“In parks like the KNP (Kruger National Park) predators do interact with tourists and staff and at times it may result in species like leopard getting habituated to people and losing their fear,” the park said.
“The change in natural behavior can then lead to unfortunate incidents such as this.”
The KNP said attacks were a danger faced by all staff and family members living and working in the park, but were very rare.
“This is the risk we live with on a daily basis as we help conserve our species for the benefit of all,” said Fundisile Mketeni, head of South African National Parks, offering condolences to the boy’s family.
Kruger covers nearly two million hectares (4.9 million acres) and is home to over 500 bird species and 147 mammal species.
The attack occurred near Crocodile Bridge, a tourist rest camp near the park’s southern boundary.


Baghdad tunnel becomes a museum for Iraq’s protest movement

Updated 22 November 2019

Baghdad tunnel becomes a museum for Iraq’s protest movement

  • The Saadoun Tunnel has become an ad hoc museum for Iraq’s massive anti-government protest movement
  • Haydar Mohammed said, “We decided to draw simple paintings to support our protester brothers and to express our message, which is a peace message.”

BAGHDAD: The images are both haunting and inspiring, transforming a once dreary, grim underpass into a vivid, colorful wall of art.
“We want a nation, not a prison,” says one painting that depicts a man bursting free from behind bars. “Plant a revolution, and you will harvest a nation,” reads another showing a hand flashing the victory sign over protesters heads.
Some of the messages are less sentimental. “Look at us, Americans, this is all your fault,” declares one.
The Saadoun Tunnel has become an ad hoc museum for Iraq’s massive anti-government protest movement. Along its walls, young artists draw murals, portraits and graffiti that illustrate the country’s tortured past and the Iraq they aspire to.
The tunnel passes under Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests where thousands of people are camped out in a giant sit-in that has taken on the feel of a vibrant mini-city.
Almost daily, clashes erupt with security forces not far away firing tear gas, live rounds and stun grenades to prevent protesters from crossing bridges over the Tigris River to the Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government. Tuk tuks — three-wheeled motorcycle transports — often zip back and forth through the Saadoun Tunnel, rushing wounded protesters from the front lines to medical clinics.
Saadoun Tunnel, the tuk tuks, the square and a nearby 14-story Saddam Hussein-era building on the Tigris that protesters took over have all become symbols of what has become the largest grassroots protest movement Iraq has seen. The protests erupted Oct. 1 over longstanding grievances at corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services and quickly escalated into calls to sweep aside Iraq’s sectarian system imposed after the 2003 US invasion and its entire political elite.
Young protesters, men and women, throng the tunnel — actually a long underpass, most of which is open to the air except for enclosed portions directly beneath Tahrir — and pass time there hanging out or taking selfies in front of the murals. Caricatures on the walls mock Iraqi politicians; other paintings praise the tuk tuks; a woman with an Iraqi flag on her cheek flexes her bicep, recreating the famed US “We Can Do It” poster; faces in drawings shout in anger or pain.
Haydar Mohammed said he and a group of other medical students were partly responsible for the murals. They met in Tahrir and saw the tunnels walls were a perfect medium to send a message to those who are suspicious of the protesters, he said.
“We are life-makers not death-makers,” he said. “We decided to draw simple paintings to support our protester brothers and to express our message, which is a peace message.”
Many of the murals carry calls for anti-sectarianism, peace and a free Iraq. In one painting, a little girl cries, declaring “They killed my dream,” referring to the group of men behind her, some in religious clothes.
Another shows an Iraqi protester wearing a helmet against tear gas with the Arabic words: “In the heart is something that cannot be killed by guns, which is the nation.” Nearby is scrawled, in English, “All What I want is life.”
“Sitting in front of these portraits, people and candles is better than being in any coffeeshop. Every time I look at them I am hopeful that the revolution will not end,” said Yahya Mohammed, 32, smoking a hookah in the tunnel and observing the scene.
“This tunnel gives me hope.”