KZN Midlands WhatsApp groups went dotty on Tuesday when footage of a leopard “roaming near two Nottingham Road hotels” began doing the rounds.
The animal is said to have been spotted by a Brookdale Health Hydro camera just after 9pm on Sunday. It seems the animal was close to Rawdons Hotel at the time. The venues are situated opposite each other.
A Rawdons employee confirmed staff had been alerted to the leopard.
“That’s all we know and we are so scared. We are scared to even walk around now, and at night it is going to be worse. We were told monkeys were making a big noise, raising suspicion. The cameras were checked and a leopard was seen on them,” the staff member said.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo didn’t respond to queries. However, KZN MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Siboniso Duma said the department hadn’t received notification of the animal.
Where necessary, Ezemvelo always deploys capable game rangers to ensure visitors and communities are not at risk, Duma added.
“In this instance, we wish to assure hotel owners that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife will follow all the necessary protocols in the interest of hotel owners, visitors, nearby communities and wildlife,” he said.
“We understand the fear and anxiety that often follow reports of sightings of wild animals.”
The fear is even more understandable after images of human remains circulated on social media recently after a man was allegedly mauled by a lion in KZN, said Duma. “It was later confirmed by the owners of Dinokeng Game Reserve that the unfortunate incident happened at a reserve in Gauteng.
“Also, weeks ago we received media queries following comments on various social media platforms about three leopards sighted along the N2 between Mkuze and Hluhluwe. Suggestions were that the leopards escaped from Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. This was investigated, but we discovered the leopards were not from our park and we could not find them.”