Brittany Boddington's Statement to Namibian Police
I, Brittany Boddington, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen herewith declare under oath as follows: I was hunting leopard with Nic Kruger of Omujeve Hunting Safaris Namibia on the Fahlwater farm in the Karibib district. We found some fresh leopard tracks at about 5:15 in the morning and when it was daybreak we put down the dogs. We set out following the sound of the hounds through the brush, but this was a very aggressive cat. It was not running from the dogs like most cats do. Zukile was one of the dog handlers, he was contacting us by radio telling us that the cat was fighting the dogs and had injured several of them. These dogs know what they are doing and almost never get close enough to get hurt. After a couple of hours we came up to a really thick area where the dogs were barking and the leopard would not tree. The leopard held its ground and the dogs were tired and bleeding so we sent Classen to get the car so that we could give the dogs some water. At this point we called the dogs away from the leopard, and they laid down in the shade waiting for the car to bring water. After they had all had water and were looking rested, the dog handlers started encouraging the dogs to go back into the brush and find the tracks of where the leopard had gone. The dog handlers were sure that the leopard had run away because none of the dogs were barking, so we started walking slowly in the direction that the leopard had been.
Nic showed me the flattened grass in an area surrounded by bushes where the leopard had been hiding when the dogs were last barking. The dogs were scattered all around us looking for tracks and as I was examining the flattened grass area I heard a dog begin to bark. Before the dog could even get the whole bark out I heard the growl of the leopard. When I heard Nic's shot go off, I stepped out from behind him and saw the leopard come out from behind a bush. The leopard paused for a moment, and in the tall grass I could see only slightly more than the outline of the leopard's back. I saw that the leopard had been hit and it stopped with its head down in the grass. I got my rifle up and took a shot at the part of the leopard that I could see.
The leopard then jumped up, and Nic hit it again with another shot as the leopard ran into the bush. Nic ran after it to make sure it would not come back to attack again. At this moment I heard Zukile yell. We realized that Punki had been shot, and we called Nic back, and he sent Classen to get the car. We held pressure on the wound, and we kept Punki awake until the car could get through the thick brush to where we were. We loaded him into the back seat of the car, and I jumped on the back of the cruiser. The entire way to the hospital I was trying to figure out what had happened. I could only imagine that I had shot over the leopard and hit Punki as he was running away. I didn't know where they had been standing, so I assumed that he had just run when the leopard charged. It was only after we had wheeled him into the emergency room that Simon told me, "You should see what the leopard did to his ankle." My response was a surprised, "The leopard bit him? When did the leopard bite him?" Simon then told me that Punki had been attacked and mauled by the leopard and that he was in fact under the leopard when I shot. I screamed, "WHAT?" and then it all started to make sense.
Nic had seen the two men fall to the ground in the tall grass before I had stepped out from behind him. Both men were wearing full camouflage from head to toe, and in the tall grass they were completely invisible to me. The leopard bit through Punki's leather belt and had been thrashing him about in the grass when I shot. Apparently the leopard was pulling him up from the ground, and as I fired my rifle, the leopard pulled him up by the left side and the bullet must have missed the leopard and gone through his hip. I know better than to fire when a leopard is mauling someone, I would not have shot had I known that there was a person even close to the leopard. The whole attack from beginning to end took less than four seconds and there was just no time to sort out what was happening. - Brittany Boddington.