24 February 2005

Elephant kills ranger at Kruger National Park

An elephant has killed a ranger in the Kruger National Park, a rare fatality for those who work among dangerous animals in the reserve, the park said on Wednesday.

The park said in a statement that field ranger Wilson Ndlovu was killed on Tuesday morning while on a bicycle patrol.

It gave no details of the attack but said the area was surrounded by two-metre-high grass and the rangers wouldn't have seen the elephants "until the last possible moment".

Rangers in the park are typically armed with heavy-calibre rifles in case they are charged by big game, which in the Kruger includes elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard - or in case they are confronted by heavily-armed poachers.

Park spokesperson William Mabasa said Ndlovu and another ranger who survived the incident had come across a pair of adult female elephants and one attacked for no apparent reason. Neither animal had calves, ruling out an aggressive defence of young. "It doesn't happen very often... In the five years I've been here we've had no fatal attacks on rangers," Mabasa said.


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