‘MY 30 MINUTE BATTLE WITH A LEAOPARD’
It was a do or die when man came face to face with a killer leopard in the deep forest of north west district on Tuesday.
“ I wasn’t ready to meet my maker so I knew that I was definitely not the one dying that day, ”says Kelebemang Khampodi of Dikgathong ranch.
True to those words the 33-year-old bachelor fought the leopard with his bare hands and lived to tell the story.
He was looking for his employer’s donkeys when the wild animal pounced on him from a tree branch above.
“I knew it was going kill me if I attempted to bolt so I stood my ground. I have heard loads of stories about how wild animals are generally afraid of human eyes so I got into the fighting mode and decided to face the animal head on.”
Khampodi who escaped with bite marks on both hands says that the decision to fight for his life was followed by a gruelling wrestling match that lasted for about half an hour as he held onto the animals forelegs.
With all his might he pulled the leopard down from his head and pushed it away from his face so he could look straight into its eyes but at a safe distance away from his face.
“It bit my hands and arms several times but I was so determined to live that I wouldn’t let go and in the end I overpowered it and it slumped to the ground.
My dogs came and took over while I ran to get a gun from the neighbours to finish it off,” he says
Khampodi’s three friends who were with him when the leopard attacked fled from him. He does not blame them.
“ Its a natural reaction to flee from danger so it’s not a surprise that they left me to fight alone. I understand,” he says with a wry smile.
Meanwhile Khampodi ‘s boss Gothata Temane says that he received a call about the attack and rushed to the scene where he found Khampodi soaked in blood.
“ We have killed five lions since the beginning of the year but that does not help as more dangerous animals keep on coming.
Khampodi is an extremely brave man.” he says.
Temane expressed concern that when a wild animal kills a human being there’s no compensation but when it kills a domestic animal there is compensation.
“Government compensates only when it is domestic animal against wild animal and that can not be fair, It makes human life seem cheaper than wild animals.”
Maun Station Commander Superintendent Kenanao Badumetse confirmed that police were investigating the Tuesday event.
Asked why it took several hours for Kampodi to reach the hospital, Temane explains that the farm where the attack occurred is deep in the bush where phone network is erratic. Khampodi had to ride a donkey back for him to have network to make a phone call.
“The area is more than 130km away from Maun and there is no network and transport there,” he says.
Efforts to get a comment from Wildlife Officers hit a snag as the District Coordinator’s phone could not go through.