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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Leopard mauls child on field trip to Kansas zoo


Deadly: The boy had a lucky escape at Sedgwick County Zoo after this leopard clawed him

A boy on a school field trip to a zoo was mauled by a leopard yesterday after he scaled a railing and approached the animal's cage, a zoo spokesman said.

The Wichita Eagle reported on its website that the boy received lacerations to his head and neck after the cat stuck a paw through its cage and grabbed him by the side of the head. He was taken to a hospital, where he’s said to be in a fair condition.

Jim Marlett, spokesman for the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, said the boy climbed the four-foot (1.2-metre) railing surrounding the leopard exhibit, crossed an eight-foot (2.4-metre) gap and stood next to the metal mesh fence of the animal's cage.

Warning: The leopard's enclosure at the zoo, which advises visitors to keep at a safe distance

Naomi Robinson, who was at the zoo with her two children when she saw the attack around 1:20pm, said it looked like the leopard was trying to pull the boy into the enclosure.

‘It happened so quick,’ she said.

The boy began screaming as soon as the leopard grabbed him. A man and woman nearby jumped over the railing and ran to help him, Robinson said.

Injury: The boy was taken away by this ambulance to hospital, where he remains in a good condition

he cat let loose of the boy when the man kicked it in the head, Robinson said.

Bystanders wrapped the boy's head in shirts and towels to stop the bleeding as he lay on the ground between the fence and leopard case.

‘It was terrible,’ Robinson said. ‘I'm really shaken right now. I'm just glad my children didn't see it. They were looking the other way.’

A Wichita School District spokeswoman told The Associated Press that counsellors were sent to the zoo to talk with children who saw the attack.

Animal magic: The hippo enclosure at Sedgwick County Zoo

Leopards are enormously powerful and in the wild often drag their prey into trees after they’ve killed them. In fact, they often spy their prey from lofty branches, their spotted coats enabling them to blend into the leaves.

source: dailymail


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