Ranger badly hurt in attack by buffalo

2010-06-05 00:00

AN Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife game ranger is in a serious but stable condition at Netcare Bay Hospital after he was gored by an old buffalo bull at Hluhluwe Game Park yesterday morning.

Ezemvelo spokesman Jeff Gaisford said three rangers were patrolling the Manzibomvu section of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park when the incident happened.

“They were well spaced out for safety measures and were walking in thick bush when a huge buffalo bull suddenly broke cover very close to Senior Field Ranger Fohla “Boy” Similane.

“Before he could take action, the buffalo went for him and gored him in the left thigh, also injuring his calf in the process, and it ran off,” said Gaisford.

He said Simelane is a “very capable and respected” ranger with more than 20 years’ experience in the field.

Simelane’s colleagues applied first aid and called for help by radio.

The rescue team took him to Manzibomvu Outpost at the Memorial Gate in the north of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, where an ambulance picked him up and took him to the Bay Hospital in Richards Bay.

Gaisford said the buffalo attack is not an isolated incident; there have been a number of similar incidents in the past and recently.

He said the bull probably felt threatened when it sensed that the ranger had invaded its territory.

“Normally young bulls chase the old bulls away from the herd. The old fellows will then stay in a group of three or four as a means of protection from lions.

“In this case, the ranger might have been too close and the danger in this is that these bulls will lie low, giving no hint that they are in the area, then they attack.

“Normally they will do so and run away,” said Gaisford.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeff Wicks said Simelane had also suffered a limb fracture after the attack. When paramedics got to him, Simelane was in pain and was treated and stabilised at the scene before being taken to hospital and admitted to ICU.

Simelane lost a lot of blood and is also suffering from shock, said Wicks.

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