Kellan Denny is lucky to be alive. Not many people can say they have survived a leopard attack, much less at six years old.
The unprovoked attack happened – during a day at the N’tsiri Private Nature Reserve, close to Kruger National Park, South Africa – while Kellan was playing with his eight year old brother, Kai, as their parents were eating lunch.
That’s when the unexpected happened.
“He was running on the wall and had done about six or seven laps while we were having lunch… and then he wanted to go back and do another lap,” Justin Denny, Kellan’s father, told Cape Argus. “When he went back to the wall, that is when the leopard attacked.”
Justin sprang into action without giving it a second thought, as he took off after the leopard, trying to save his son.
“By the grace of God, it dropped him. Then I picked him up and rushed him back to the rondavel and attended to his injuries. Then a neighbour arrived with his wife who is a nurse.”
Kellan was sent to the hospital – in a state of shock and constant pain – after his dad called the reserve’s management to assess his son.
“At the time, my focus was on chasing down the leopard and making sure he (Kellan) was fine. His brother was also quite traumatised, but he was brave for his brother.”
Park management declined to be identified but they did say in their 40 years, they haven’t had any incident like this at all.
“Most likely the leopard was hunting impala and saw the little boy. Luckily the father chased him and the father was catching up, which is why (I think) he dropped him.”