Workman strangles attacking leopard
by Ray Kennedy
A drill operator who was attacked at a mineral exploration site in the Kalahari Desert by a leopard fought back against the animal and eventually strangled it.
Frik van Heerden, 35, nursing painful bites and scratches at his home in Bothaville in South Africa’s Free State province described the attack 10 days ago deep in Botswana. He said he was walking the short distance from his caravan home to another trailer used as an office ‘when I heard a noise and spun round. As I did so, a leopard pounced on me.’
His shouts alerted his wife, Alta and their two young sons, but they could do nothing to help as Mr van Heerden wrestled for his life.
‘I punched and fought with it but I could not get it off me’ he said. ‘I did not know what I was doing but I suppose the survival instinct took over. Somehow I managed to grab its throat and eventually I felt it go limp. I had strangled it’
Mrs van Heerden radioed for help and her husband was flown by helicopter to hospital in Gaborone, the Botswanan capital He will be returning to work soon.
Leopards, known as silent killers, are solitary beasts and regarded as among the most dangerous by wildlife experts. They circle their prey and attack from behind. The animal that attacked Mr van Heerden probably was attracted to the family’s camp by the smell of food.
(You may wonder what that story has to do with the subject of holiness. All will become clear as we proceed I trust.)