Commenting on the sensitive video, Danielle said, “I unfortunately witnessed this attack while shooting in iSimangaliso Wetland Park for Makhulu. I have been conflicted whether as to post this or not, but have realised that this can be an educational warning for all those travelling to and living in a wild area.
Please read the signs put up for your safety. These dogs were completely unattended for about 10 minutes before this attack happened. They were tormenting the hippos and running into the estuary. Their owners only arrived after the scene, confused as to where the dog had gone. I was unfortunately on the other side of the estuary so I could not warn them, but please see this as a warning.
The wild is wild for a reason. Keep your pets and loved ones close to you when in a game reserve. Do not sit or fish at the water’s edge. This is croc territory and they are opportunists. Please take the signage seriously and respect the reserve.”
Commenting on the video iSimangaliso Wetland Park said: “The dog was taken by a crocodile after entering the water at iSimangaliso’s Lake St Lucia Estuary mouth and harassing hippos and crocodiles. This unfortunate event took place because the animals were not on leashes. Visitors must please take note of the warning signage of the presence of potentially dangerous wildlife such as hippo, crocs and sharks. This part of the park offers open access to all visitors, including their animals but these should always be on leashes.
iSimangaliso is special in that dog owners are permitted to walk their pets on several of the trails and beach areas directly adjacent to the St Lucia town area that are outside of the Big Five game fence. However, they should always be leashed for the protection of both dogs and wildlife, which is prolific in the area.
iSimangaliso decided to share the footage of the negative croc-dog encounter on social media in the interests of safety of people and their pets. As tragic as the scene was, if it can prevent further incidents it is worth illustrating that the Lake St Lucia Estuary and surrounding beach and forest areas are wild territory, even though access is open to the public. iSimangaliso is almost unique in this respect, which is part of its immense attraction to tourists. Poor behaviour by a few could jeopardise this kind of access and use for the majority of dog lovers.
Park signage does warn of the presence of potentially dangerous animals and also the need for dogs to be leashed, particularly in the vicinity of any water sources, which may harbour crocodiles and hippo. Regardless of where dogs are walked, they should always be under the control of their owners for their own safety as well as that of other park users. Dog owners should preferably avoid high risk areas, such as the shores of the estuary, and rather choose to exercise pets when the beach is quiet, well away from any water bodies.”