Elephant charges at honeymoon couple

2012-05-16 10:47

Johannesburg - A couple honeymooning in the Kruger National Park have videotaped an elephant charging at their hiking group.

Beeld reported that Jaco and Sharne Kamffer and six others were hiking with rangers when they came upon a herd of elephants with young elephants among them.

Although they quickly moved away, a female elephant stormed at them.

The rangers stamped their feet and screamed at the elephant but to no avail. She only stopped her attack when they shot at her, breaking off her right tusk and causing her to stop about 11 metres from the hikers.

“It was one of the most difficult situations I have ever been in. On the one hand you want to look back to see what is happening, but on the other hand you also want to see where to run to,” said Kamffer on Tuesday.

He filmed the attack on video.

The couple had only been married two weeks.

“Already we have a nice story to tell our grandchildren one day.”


  • Squeegee - 2012-05-16 11:21

    Hope you were wearing khakis...

  • roodbol - 2012-05-16 11:31

    They shot off her right tusk!! I mean, come on, this is wildlife habitat, not for humans. Tusks are for a reason and to protect her and her offspring in future. Due to this lost she might not get as old as she was supposed to do. I wish these tourists/locals stop treading on holy ground where our anmimals are supposed to be... if the animal stormed the tourist while guests are having breakfast at the lodge, this I can understand. But the bush belongs to the wildlife!

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-16 11:51

      No, she does not need her tusk for survival roodbol. She'll be just fine, as long as no bullets penetrated her body. The reason that land is put aside for wildlife is largely due to the tourists, they provide a lot of the revenue for conservation areas. It's great to walk in the bush, being taken out by a wild animal is a risk many are prepared to take in order to enjoy the freedom of the wilderness. You must lead an exciting life?

      Donne.3 - 2012-05-16 12:00

      Chum its not about how exciting one's life is??? You are in their home and should be well aware of the risks involved when doing this. I for one took clients out on a walk and we walked into a prode of lions. The ranger made it very clear that should anyone run - he will be shooting them and not the lion. If you are prepared to take the risks, then dont shoot the animals. They are WILD animals - not pets! And she was protecting the younger ones - as elephants do...

      Squeegee - 2012-05-16 12:08

      Are you really this dumb? They tried to kill the elephant (to stop it from killing them) and hit its tusk. Only in the movies can a man aim at the tusk of a charging elephant and hit it.

      Donne.3 - 2012-05-16 12:20

      And you're an idiot to think that bullet would have stopped that elephant!

      louise.patterton - 2012-05-16 14:14

      thoroughly agree with you. Some humans are just so selfish. You know the type: "It is MY RIGHT to do a bushwalk. I will just shoot at whatever endangers me. I need to do this bushwalk; my life is so dull otherwise." Pathetic.

  • Donne.3 - 2012-05-16 11:45

    Im Sorry!! But for someone that worked in that environment I am highly aggrevated by the fact that you shot at the elephant and damaged her tusk. Hiking has become a major tourist attraction and the bottom line is that you are in THEIR territory! And she is protecting her young as any mother would. I think this is desgusting!

      Squeegee - 2012-05-16 12:10

      Go live in coo coo land. Reality dictates that tourism is needed for conservation. Should they have sacrificed their lives?

      Donne.3 - 2012-05-16 12:18

      I never said sacrifice your life but going there you know the risks. Why did we never have to shoot at any animal? There are other ways to do it! Clearly they as rangers should have been better trained to deal with these situations - shooting at an animal is always last resort when you are part of that environment every day. Instead of coo coo land, maybe you should try doing that job to understand what I am saying coz clearly you are misunderstanding completely

      carla.viljoen - 2012-05-16 12:23

      Firstly, as a ranger one should know the massive negative effects shooting one elephant has on the entire herd! If the elephant died, the ENTIRE HERD would quite possibly have had to be culled. Secondly, why try to kill the elephant? Why not shoot the air to halt it's movement first. 11 m is enough distance to take that risk. Thirdly, this writer is portraying a message that shooting the elephant and breaking it's tusk was somehow justified, and actually not unethical. So it's OK injure elephants, but not rhinos? If hiking through the wild is dangerous to humans (which it is - duh) and in turn poses a threat to the animals, don't do it. What has become of this world?

      Surfing - 2012-05-16 12:30

      Squeegee --- They should not have been in this situation, this guides were incompetent and if they had a little more experience the elephant could have come closer before these drastic steps had to be taken. The bottom line is they should not be so close to the elephants in the first place.

      Jackie - 2012-05-16 14:52

      Totally agree @Donne.3! Mother elephants are amongst the most dangerous animals around. I understand that they walk in the Kruger but they do it with rangers. As a trained person they should know more or less where possibly dangerous areas are - they or the colleagues walk/drive it daily. These people could have very easily been killed. And I know they had to stop her somehow but then maybe they shouldnt be walking? She was doing what she was supposed to do & now has lost part of her tusk. Not fair.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-16 16:13

      So the guides should just have stood back and allowed the elephant to kill the guests that are their responsibility? Geez, that makes sense. Squeegee, I don't think the point is getting through!

      Gerry - 2012-05-16 20:18

      FLASHBANGS (Stun grenades) work with an angry rioting mob of the human species, why not issue stun grenades to the guides. BOOM! - BOOM!! Beats shooting at the animals who are just doing what they do naturally...

  • Serame - 2012-05-16 11:54

    This is very sad and unfair..Why shoot at her??She's rightfully in her territory..people must stop interfering with the wild..I mean realy...How can u eat breakfast in the wild bush???there are restaurants in most game reserves..Now she has sadly been hurt on and her precious tusk been meddled with..These animals dont invade our residential why do human interfer with their environment..THIS IS SHOCKINGLY IRRESPONSIBLE.

  • Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-16 11:55

    Great experience to share - if you live through it. Lucky ele, the guides were obviously shooting at it with the intention to stop it, whatever the outcome, the tusk saved it from having a bullet end it's life. Such is fate, then it would have being a sad ending and not so much fun to share.

  • Rabble-Rouser - 2012-05-16 12:03

    We were charged by an elephant on a trip to the Kruger Park. Fortunately we were in a vehicle. We did the sensible thing a drove away from the herd as fast as possible. In short we gave them space. It's usually the cow that does the charging. As the matriacrh, they are just doing the normal, natural and instinctive action in protecting the young and the herd. We were invading their space and they told us in no uncertain terms to get lost. Which we did and very quickly too. The matriarch will normally charge for a certain distance and then stop. It's usually a safe distance (which she feels comfortable with) to create space between the percieved threat (us humans) and the herd, particularly the calves. If you don't move then you can be certain that she will cause immense damage to your vehicle. Humans are invaders in their territory. Respect their space.

  • John - 2012-05-16 12:17

    He should frame his brown underpants....just incase his grandchildren dont believe him, he has some proof.

  • conrad.reynecke - 2012-05-16 12:39

    first of all these rangers are idiots and inexperienced, that elephant was mock charging, notice the ears flapping, if she was charging for real her head wuold have been down and ears flat! but they were in a situation where they had to make a crutial decision to protect the hikers and a well placed shot will stop her in her tracks! unfortunately this was a wrong place wrong time situation, loosing a tusk will not affect the elephant in any way, it is when they loose both that it start affecting them. @Carla, they whole heard will not have to be culled if she was killed, please get your facts straight.people should not make comments like these below if they have not been directly involved in wildlife and have no idea what they are talking about! The Ranger made a decision and stuck to it! he had to protect the human live! the fact that he is a crap shot is a whole different story!

      evon.nieman - 2012-05-16 14:44

      Very convenient to video the incident. Mmmm i would drop camera and run or, it would be either the sky or the ground.

  • Arthur - 2012-05-16 12:53

    Why did they have to shoot her? Why not shoot in the air - the sound would probably have been enough to scare her off. :-(

      chris.voets - 2012-05-16 13:42

      "Probably"? Unfortunately if it DOESN'T stop her, and the tourists get killed or hurt (11m is not far when an elephant is at full speed), the ranger will be held accountable. Also, it's not stated in the article whether the ranger(s) did in fact shoot in the air BEFORE the ellie got this close. - The rangers are taught to only shoot when they see no other way of protecting the people under their guard; sometimes these are also split-second decisions that need to be taken. Of course some of the people commenting on this site are all crack shots/ would all have known how to act in the situation/ would never have got themselves into the situation in the first place - however, for some reason, they are sitting behind a laptop typing instead of doing the rangers' (apparently easy) jobs...

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-16 19:34

      Thank you chris!

  • karendk - 2012-05-16 13:21

    'Nice story' shooting off an elephant mother's tusk. Tourists should stay in the viewing vehicles and not tempt fate then be surprised when a wild animal charges at them.

      chris.voets - 2012-05-16 13:43

      It's a bush walk. Really difficult to do from inside a vehicle. And no-one in the article was expressing surprise at being charged.

  • louise.patterton - 2012-05-16 14:14

    pathetic. And yes, elephants are at the moment more precious than humans. The ranger should be fired (at). Bush walks with rifles should be get trampled, so be it. So what's next: rhino poachers saying they were also in danger????

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-16 19:27

      And then of coarse there is the real world ... the comparison between poachers and trailists - now thats pathetic louise.

      Rob - 2012-05-16 19:49

      Maybe the ranger should have first had a good look at the ground in front of the charging Elephant (at 45 km per hour) 11 meters away, warn the 'visitors' to back off and then select a suitable large branch on the ground, firing just underneath it so as to fling it up in the air between the charging elephants legs and thus cause it to trip and fallover.... Get real - this is Africa... No sort of 'experience' can dictate what a wild animal will or can do....

  • louise.patterton - 2012-05-16 14:54

    Well, in the twitter and whatsapp message I received a few minutes after the elephant was shot at, it was stated that she is wounded, plus tusk shot off halfway. Was she wounded? Is this fact being hidden now? Is she still alive? Would love to know.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-16 19:25

      Very likely wounded, I find it hard to believe they just hit the tusk - they fired several shots at the animal. Probably don't want to let out the truth for people like you to gloat about, they'll find the poor beast and end it humanely I'm sure.

  • Rob - 2012-05-16 19:40

    This is one of the reasons that all shops in the Kruger Park maintain a healthy 'supply' of both mens and womens underwear. Their 'hikers boots' are also fitted with 'spikes'... I was once 'charged' by a Rhino in Bop and I can assure I needed a fresh supply of both...

      Gerry - 2012-05-16 20:27

      Try being chased by an angry Eland bull, around and around the only tree in sight for kilometres...happened to me in Namibia. Gud thing I was not wearing underwear as it would have weighed me down.

  • Jacqueline - 2012-05-16 20:28

    irresponsible! and what if the elephant had to be shot dead because of these idiots blundering into their space????

  • Ryan Bruss - 2012-05-17 06:11

    Ladies and gentlemen if I may be allowed to voice my opinion

  • Ryan Bruss - 2012-05-17 06:20

    An elephants tusk has a nerve that runs from the head all the way down until the tusk becomes solid. Similar to a tooth in your head. If the nerve has been affected then that elephant is going to become very irritable and associate the pain with humans every time it sees them. This will I inevitably lead the elephant to charge humans the next time. Sadly this elephant may have to be put down. Humanely? I don't know. Judging by the "rangers" on this walk.... They should not have taken tourists in such close proximity to a herd with young. This is the rangers fault. They attempt to give tourists an adrenalin shot when coming to Africa by taking them just that little bit closer and evoking a reaction out of the wildlife. I have seen it many times. Bottom line-respect wildlife in their natural habitat

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-17 12:46

      I've been on a few trails in Kruger, and the rangers are extremely conservative, they have never taken any chance's on the trails I have been on. I'd even go so far as to say they are over cautious. Maybe this was a day walk, and a less experienced guide was used. There is always a chance the group stumbled upon this herd by accident, you'd be surprised how silent elephant can be. But to be fair, this sort of thing very seldom occurs. Vehicles driving through the park kill a lot more animals - think of the smaller creatures like tortoises, chameleons, etc. But nobody cares about them, they're not spectacular enough. So criticism of walking in the bush should take this into consideration, if the criticism is to be fair.

  • keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-18 17:34

    I almost thought elephant charged Zuma but, when I read carefully i saw couple:But didnt Zuma wear khaki when he was young ?

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