A Kruger Park game ranger lauded for bravery when he stopped a leopard from attacking a colleague, was honoured posthumously this past weekend.
Walter Chauke, who saved his colleague's life on June 12, 2018, died six months after the incident from an unrelated illness.
His wife Busani received the bravery award on his behalf during the annual staff awards at Skukuza on Saturday.
Last year, Chauke and Ronald Mathonsi formed part of ranger teams deployed to patrol the Shamariri and Nsio areas in the Oliphant's section in the park.
The two men were instructed to man an observation post on one of the koppies and to be on the lookout for poachers.
While at the observation post, Mathonsi needed to answer the call of nature.
It was during this time that Chauke saw a leopard sneaking up on Mathonsi.
Without hesitation he jumped toward the animal and hit it with his rifle barrel against the head. The leopard retreated and fled.
"Through his actions he not only saved Mathonsi's life but also that of the leopard," said SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla.
Chauke had worked at Kruger for 16 years.