Curran in serious condition in Jo'burg hospital

AUCKLAND — A Kiwi wildlife film producer was mauled by a leopard while on location in southern Africa.

Judith Curran, 46, an award-winning producer with Dunedin-based Natural History New Zealand lost what was described as a “fist-sized chunk” of her inner thigh after she was attacked by the hand-reared animal at a Namibian game park. The animal’s teeth also pierced right through one of her hands.

She was airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg and was reported to be in serious condition after an operation to clean the wound.

Michael Stedman, managing director of the unit, said the leopard attacked for no apparent reason.

The Fox-owned unit, the second largest film production company of its type, produces a range of wildlife, science, health and adventure programming for broadcasters around the world. It routinely sends crews to remote places.

Curran, originally from Dunedin, worked for many years in Australia before joining Natural History New Zealand.

In 2001, she won an award at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival for an Australian Broadcasting Corp. documentary on Christmas Island’s endangered red crabs.

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