Tourists watch in horror as elephant gored

2010-05-02 23:15

Port Elizabeth - As a large group of tourists watched in horror a young elephant bull killed an older one in a fight at the Addo Elephant National Park last Thursday.

Mandy Roets, marketing manager of SANParks' Frontier district, said Paul, a bull in his 30s, impaled the brain of Skukuza, 47, with one of his tusks.

Tourists saw Paul chasing Skukuza, who only had one tusk, around the park throughout the afternoon.

"When Skukuza fell down, Paul dealt the death blow by piercing Skukuza's brain with his tusk.

"While it's an upsetting event to watch or hear about, we have to accept it because it's part of the animals' natural behaviour," said Roets.

Skukuza was one of eight elephants which were relocated from Kruger National Park to the Addo Elephant National Park five years ago.

Paul - also from the Kruger Park - arrived at Addo a few months after Skukuza.

The eight elephants were specifically chosen for relocation to improve the quality of the gene pool at Addo.

Skukuza's right tusk was damaged during the journey to his new home, and he lost it shortly after he arrived at Addo.

"Skukuza was peaceful and never showed any signs of aggression toward other elephants or tourists.

"Unfortunately Paul is at the stage where younger males challenge older males in an attempt to gain dominance.

"It happens most often during mating season, when elephant bulls can act aggressively toward one another."