A file photo of a hyena, a nocturnal predator with powerful jaws. A similar animal attacked a teenager on Sunday. File picture: Timothy Bernard
Johannesburg – A teenage boy is recovering in a Joburg hospital after being mauled by a spotted hyena in the Kruger National Park.
The attack occurred around 4.30am on Sunday.
The acting head of communications for SANParks, William Mabasa, said the 16-year-old boy was sleeping by himself in a tent when he was attacked.
His parents were in a caravan next to him at the Crocodile Bridge camp in the southern Kruger Park.
“I can’t tell you how serious the injuries were but he was bitten in the face. He was taken to Nelspruit MediClinic. No one else was hurt and the hyena ran away before the rangers could find it,” said Mabasa, adding that he could not identify the family.
Mabasa said the rangers later discovered a hole in the fence which they suspect could have been used by the animal to enter the camp.
The spotted hyena is a member of the dog family, weighing around 60kg and standing at about 80cm at the shoulder. They have powerful jaws and are nocturnal predators.
On the official Kruger Park website, Kruger mammal expert Heike Schutze says: “They are high-stamina hunters relentless in the pursuit of their prey once they have tasted blood.”
A representative of Nelspruit MediClinic said the teen had been airlifted to Gauteng for further treatment.
Mabasa said that in the 17 years he has been at SANParks, he has never encountered an inc…