Narrow escape for Kruger Park rangers after elephant attacks

2019-04-02 16:14


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Two field rangers survived a close encounter with an angry elephant when the animal attacked them while they were on patrol. 

South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a statement that the rangers were injured in the attack in the Kruger National Park on Saturday.

SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla told News24 Alfred Maluleke and Bethuel Khoza, who are stationed in Pafuri in the north of the park, sustained injuries while attempting to flee from the charging elephant.

"For cautionary purposes, we took them to hospital to be checked out. They have since been discharged and will be going back for a final check-up," Phaahla said on Tuesday. 

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Phaahla said park rangers were trained to avoid direct contact with the park's animals. "But we've had some good rain recently, so the bush is quite thick. So in some instances you might not see an animal and act in the way you've been trained. These animals have a good sense of smell, so they are aware of your presence before you see them. So once you get too close, they feel threatened and the animals attack. Elephants are quite aggressive."  

Acting GM: Communications at the Kruger National Park, Nhlanhla Themba, said due to the rangers' skills and knowledge of wildlife behaviour, they managed to escape with minor injuries. 

The park's managing executive, Glenn Phillips, extended his well-wishes to the two rangers on behalf of SANParks staff.

"These are some of the many dangers that our rangers face on a daily basis. It is not only poachers [who] pose a threat to our men and women in green," said Phillips.

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Read more on:    sanparks  |  polokwane  |  animals

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