DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – A civil suit, first of its kind in Tanzania’s tourism history, took place in northern tourist city of Arusha this week against luxury Tarangire Safari Lodge over negligence that led to a leopard attack of a 7-year-old French boy.
French tourist, Mr. Adelino Pereira, had sued Sinyati Limited, which owns Tarangire Safari Lodge, over its management’s negligence which caused the death of his 7-year-old son, Adrian Pereira who was attacked and killed by a leopard at the lodge compound three years ago.
In the High Court of Tanzania, Mr. Pereira, who is an employee of the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland, said in his testimony that his son was killed by the leopard because of alleged negligence on the part of the hotel management and its employees on duty that day.
He said the same leopard that killed his son, who was at that time playing around the lodge verandah after dinner, had probably attacked another child at the lodge employee minutes earlier with no precautionary measures taken by the lodge management.
The late Adrian Pereira was snatched by the leopard from the verandah of the tourist lodge in Tarangire National Park on the evening of October 1, 2005 while his parents and other guests were having their dinner. He was found dead in less than half an hour some 150 meters from the lodge by his father and other people who joined the rescue minutes after the attack.
The boy was snatched at about 20:15 hours (8:15 pm) by the animal while he and other guests were having dinner in the dining hall of the lodge located near the Tarangire park’s main entrance.
The leopard snatched the boy and killed him then abandoned his body and fled into its habitat with Tarangire National park, about 130 kilometers west of Arusha town.
Witnesses told the Tanzanian Court that the leopard frequented the lodge verandah Wednesdays and Saturdays during barbecue dinners and has been a good attraction to lodge visitors. It was feeding on leftovers supplied by the lodge staff.
Tanzania National Parks wardens shot the killer leopard three days after the boy’s death.
Tarangire National Park is one among Tanzania’s leading wildlife attractions, full of elephants, leopards, lions and big African mammals. It has been rare cases to find animals protected in parks attacking humans in Tanzania.
Wildlife attacking humans are common in Tanzania, but most cases occur in unprotected areas where lions kill and eat humans, while leopards commonly attack people for protection. Leopards, which are found everywhere in Tanzania, are usually seen hunting for goats and chicken rather than humans.