Handler killed by tame bull elephant in Vic Falls

2017-07-25 06:11
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Victoria Falls - An experienced elephant guide has been charged and killed in Victoria Falls by a tame bull elephant used for safari rides, a company official said on Monday.

The guide's death was a "tragic event", said Brent Williamson, the managing director of safari company Adventure Zone.

'Extremely competent'

"It is with deep regret that we advise everyone that at 14:30 hours on Saturday, our domesticated elephant bull (Mbanje) charged one of our staff members and this resulted in our guide losing his life," Williamson said in a statement sent to News24.

He said guide Enock Kufandanda had been with the company for 12 years and was "extremely competent".

Elephant was an orphan

The elephant has since been shot dead by national parks rangers. "There is an ongoing investigation into how and why this incident occurred," said Williamson.

He said the 30-year-old Mbanje had been an orphan from a national parks culling  programme, and had been a partner of their 28-year-old elephant cow Nkanyezi all his life.

It’s understood no tourists were present at the time of the tragedy. Williamson told News24 separately that the company had planned to stop elephants rides later this year. The elephants were going to be kept solely for "educational interactions" with clients, he said.

Loss of a breadwinner

Kufandanda’s son told the state-run Chronicle newspaper that the elephant bull had turned on his father as he and colleagues tried to round up the animals to put them in a pen.

"We were told that he was with workmates rounding up the elephants when he was attacked," Shepherd told the paper, adding that his mother and five-year-old sibling had lost their only provider.

"We don’t even know what we are going to do. I am at school and he was the only breadwinner," he said.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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