Elephant attacks couple’s car

2017-09-04 10:49

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Pietermaritzburg - A young Durban couple were left shaken after an elephant allegedly rammed its tusk through their car window, in yet another incident at the Natal Lion Park.

The car the couple, both 25, were travelling in sustained about R3 500 worth of damage — including a smashed window and cracked windscreen — in the incident.

Just two weeks ago, The Witness reported on a group of four who were left traumatised after a lion clung onto the back of their car at the park’s lion enclosure.

The park is owned by prominent circus owner Brian Boswell.

The driver of the vehicle, who asked not to be named, said they were driving along a narrow route when they saw a car stopped in front of an elephant.

“There was an elephant handler with the elephant who said it was fine to go past, so the car in front of us started going forward. The handler got the elephant to stand at the side of the road and then as [our] car got close to the elephant, it turned around and started hitting the bonnet with its trunk.”

He said the elephant then began to chase the handler when he tried to restrain it. “He [the handler] was screaming and ended up jumping off the path into the bush,” the man said.

“We couldn’t turn back because it was a narrow path so we waited a bit. The elephant seemed to [calm down] so we tried to go forward slowly.

“Then as we got alongside it, it turned around and came at us.”

He said they could not drive past the elephant as its trunk was leaning on the car. “And then it rammed its tusk through the driver’s side window.”

He said the elephant backed away slightly after that, and he immediately drove off.

He claimed the park had never warned them about the elephants, and that the park’s management “weren’t too interested” when they reported what happened. “They said it is written on the receipt that nothing is their responsibility.”

He said they were, however, granted a refund.

Boswell said on Friday that he was aware of the incident. “Elephants are big animals. They [the two] should have been further away. If it starts approaching you, leave.”

On the claim that the two were never told about elephants at the park, he said: “I don’t think that’s true.”

He said he was unaware of the refund the couple were granted, or whether they had indeed spoken to management.

The Witness has reported on several incidents in the last decade where park patrons’ vehicles were attacked by lions.

In 2011, it was reported that a family told the paper that a lion had jumped on their car and began to bite the car and its tyres.

In 2010, a lion jumped on a Durban family’s bakkie. The lion’s jaw was torn open in the incident after the driver had accelerated to try and shake the lion off the bakkie.

In 2009, a lion clawed the back of a Dutch tourist couple’s car at the park.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  animals

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