2-year-old mauled by leopard in safari park after grandfather opens pen
A 2-year-old boy was severely injured Thursday after a leopard escaped its pen and pounced on him, according to the Times of Israel.
Orr Burns and his family were visiting a safari park on the island of Ko Samui in Thailand, when a man — later identified as Orr's grandfather — reportedly left the gate of the leopard's pen open after taking photos of the animal. A 30-second video shows the cat peeking outside its enclosure before running into a crowd of tourists. About eight seconds later, a handler is seen forcing the leopard back into its pen.
Witnesses said that park employees kicked the leopard in the head to force it off the Orr, who suffered serious injuries to his face. Rafe Benvenisti, one of the boy's relatives, told the Mirror that the cat had jumped on the toddler's mother before leaping at the child.
"The leopard locked onto his face for four or five seconds," Benvenisti said. "He didn't release Orr until one of the locals kicked the leopard in the head. Everyone was shocked. We were looking for someone to take us to a hospital. We started screaming until someone drove a vehicle and took us."
Orr was taken to a local hospital, where doctors bandaged him, conducted a CT scan of the laceration and performed surgery on him. The 2-year-old's condition was purportedly stable following the procedure. He was later flown back to Israel to receive additional treatment.
Orr's father, Rafi, told the Mirror that the leopard should have been "drowsy" before visitors were allowed to take photos of it. He also claimed that a handler should have been at the pen's entrance.
"We felt like we were helpless," Rafi said. "I rushed to the cars and asked for him to be taken to the hospital. Everyone was scared and didn't want to take. We didn't believe such a disaster would happen."
The attack comes more than two months after another leopard similarly attacked and killed a 2-year-old at South Africa’s Kruger National Park.