Thursday, June 12, 2008

Leopard victim on the mend


June 13 , 2008



Leopard victim on the mend

Piet van der Walt can still smile after his escape from the jaws of death, but the memory of his traumatic encounter with a leopard still haunts him

The scars on his head are a perpetual reminder of his lucky escape

Dave Savides

WEEKS after being mauled by a leopard at the Hluhluwe game reserve, Richards Bay pensioner Piet van der Walt is recovering well from his physical injuries - but the mental scars will take time to heal.
The popular Rotarian and Richards Bay Country Club golfer said on Tuesday that he keeps having flashbacks to the evening of the attack.
Van der Walt, known affectionately as 'Piet Pompies', had been making a potjie at the Mpila camp while his family were in their tents when he was pulled backwards from his chair by the leopard's powerful paw.
His skin ripped from his scalp, the bloodied victim was rushed to the Bay Hospital where he was treated and discharged after surgery and a short stay.
His supportive family, who were visiting from the UK and Australia, have since returned and Van der Walt believes the vacuum left has caused him to think more about what happened.
'I tend to be a bit weepy now, even though I am grateful that my life was spared.'
Meanwhile, Mpila camp manager Collette Jennings said a female leopard with a juvenile accompanying her has been seen often at the camp and is believed to be linked to the attack.
'We think that the mother was teaching her child to hunt and this resulted in the unfortunate situation.'


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