Hyena bites soldier


Soldiers and support personnel on active duty in the Kruger National Park were again reminded of the dangers of being in close proximity to wildlife when an unidentified soldier was reportedly attacked by a hyena.

The incident, according to Siphiwe Dlamini, Department of Defence (DoD) head of communication, happened last week when the animal, probably a spotted hyena but not identified, was chased from the ops room and kitchen area of the Sand River military base not far from Kruger’s administrative “capital” Skukuza.

The incident’s origins lie in a staff sergeant who, the statement has it, “heard movement of a hyena”. He called for assistance and with a fellow soldier chased the predator/scavenger.
The animal, Dlamini avers, was “stuck under a fence”.

Two other soldiers, apparently unaware of the danger posed by the “stuck animal approached the hyena on foot”.

“It broke free and attacked a soldier, injuring him on both hands,” the statement has it, adding the soldier was treated by the base ops medic and then taken to Skukuza. After he was stabilised the bitten soldier was moved to a hospital in Mbombela where he is reported to be “in a stable, not life threatening condition”.

The “attack”, according to Dlamini’s statement, happened at the base shooting range.

There was, at the time of publishing, no indication of what happened to the hyena.

“It is presumed the hyena was injured, judging from the blood trail out of the camp (base). This was an unfortunate incident where the animal was under duress and attacked while trying to flee,” the senior DoD spin doctor said in the statement.

Soldiers from various units and formations, mostly SA Army, work with SANParks rangers in Kruger on anti-poaching as well as their original tasking of border protection as per Operation Corona.