Kruger Park ranger survives buffalo attack by clinging onto its horns

Kruger Park regional ranger Don English has survived a buffalo attack by clinging onto its horns. (Debbie English)
Kruger Park regional ranger Don English has survived a buffalo attack by clinging onto its horns. (Debbie English)

Cape Town - Kruger National Park regional ranger Don English has escaped major internal injury after a buffalo attack on Tuesday, which saw him grabbing onto the animal’s horns.

Daughter Debbie English, a veterinary student at Onderstepoort, told News24 on Wednesday that he was very lucky.

"It got him by the shirt and belt. His shirt was ripped... He was just very lucky and very wise in the way he thought on the spot in the matter of seconds that this played out."

During a routine exercise in the park, the buffalo bull charged at him at close quarters and threw him repeatedly in the air.

After grabbing the horns, he "hung on for his life", until the animal eventually succumbed, said SA National Parks spokesperson William Mabasa.

He was immediately attended to by a local doctor and airlifted to a nearby hospital.

"He has bruising and bashing and broken ribs, but no major internal injuries," his daughter said. "He is incredibly sore."

He was stable and being monitored.

English is known for his conservation and rhino protection efforts.

His name was given to a rhino calf he helped rescue after it lost its mother to poaching a year ago.

Debbie said she could not recall her dad having been in a similar accident before.

"A friend called him a buffalo wrangler. He has proven that he is much stronger than a dugga boy."

A “dugga boy” is a term for old bachelor bull. Dugga was the Shona word for mud.

The park’s managing executive, Glenn Phillips, wished English a speedy recovery on behalf of all staff.

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