A two-year-old has been killed by a big cat in South Africa's biggest game reserve, the Kruger National Park.

The leopard was able to access a supposedly safe living quarters, fenced off from the rest of the park, where it grabbed the boy.

The park confirmed the victim was a child of a park employee, who had been staying at the Malelane Technical Services living quarters.

The incident happened at around 8pm on Wednesday night. After being rushed to Shongwe Hospital by family members the child was pronounced dead.

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It is unclear of the exact circumstances surrounding the child's death. Leopard attacks on humans are extremely rare.

However, Ike Phaahla a spokesperson for the Kruger park explained that while it would be highly unusual for a leopard to attack a fully grown adult, a young child might appear to the big cat as viable prey.

Fundisile Mketeni, CEO of the South African National Parks said the tragic loss was part of the risk of working to conserve the parks' animals.

"It is never easy to lose a loved one especially under such tragic circumstances," he said.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with the family during this trying time, we wish them strength and will give them all the support they need as an organisation."

The park said predators regularly interact with tourists and staff. Photo / Getty Images
The park said predators regularly interact with tourists and staff. Photo / Getty Images

The park said predators regularly interact with tourists and staff and this might result in animals like leopards loosing fear of humans and their living quarters.

Although incidents such as this are rare, park animals are becoming habituated to human contact.

The South African National Parks said they were already observing a change in natural behaviour, saying that it is now an unfortunate risk that staff members have to live with.

"This is the risk we live with on a daily basis as we help conserve our species for the benefit of all," said Mketeni.

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1.5 million tourists visit Kruger every year, making it one of Africa's most visited parks.