Cape Town - South African National Parks has confirmed that guided bush walks in the Kruger National Park's Mooiplaas Section near Mopani Camp will continue uninterrupted.
This after a SANParks employee was trampled to death by an elephant on Thursday, 30 March, while and another SANParks employee sustained serious injuries.
According to an official statement by SANParks, "A group of employees were attacked by a herd of elephants at the Mooiplaas Section near Mopani Camp."
The South African Police Service along with medical professionals were called to the scene to assist the two employees who were attacked, but could not manage to save one of the injured women. She was declared deceased at the scene, SANParks confirmed.
The other injured employee was rushed to a hospital in Tzaneen.
SANParks Acting Head of Communications, William Mabasa expressed his condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased on behalf of the SANParks Management and Staff.
"We wish the other colleague who is currently in hospital a speedy recovery," Mabasa says.
Circumstances surrounding the incident are still being investigated, SANParks says.
Mopani rest camp offers a variety of activities for guests, including Guided Bush Walks in which rangers accompany visitors in tracking rhino, elephant and lion on foot, teaching fascinating facts and lessons about the African bush.
According to SANParks, "The walking safari are still continuing."
What to do when an elephant charges
If you ever find yourself in a situation where an elephant attacks or threatens to attack, keep in mind the following advise from Dr Marion Garai, chairperson of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group (ESAG).
IMPORTANT: Elephant bulls in musth are the most unpredictable, and often roam away from other elephants. There are a number ways to identify an elephant in musth, which includes a very strong smell, a secretion from its genitalia and often the inside part of its back legs are wet. The bulls naturally react when they hear something, any kind of movement could irritate them when in musth. It's best to avoid such an elephant.
Other tips to ward off a threatening elephant encounter -
- Do not show your back to the elephant. Do not turn or run! Running encourages chasing.
- If the elephant appears to be making a mock charge, you have the option of standing absolutely still. It shows the elephant that you're non-threatening and it removes the desire to chase you. However, you'll need to judge the suitability of this move by the size and aggressiveness of the elephant before you.
- Be noisy. It might be possible to shoo off the elephant by making loud noise if there is some distance between you and the charging elephant.
- You can also shake trees, rattle bags, make noise using whatever objects are to hand. A loudly and repetitively shouted "No" is good if you can't think of anything else.
- If there is a vehicle and you can maneuver it quickly enough, drive off. Be warned though, if the elephant is already close to the vehicle, it may charge the vehicle and you risk being tipped over and pounded.
- Climb. Elephants can't climb. And provided you find a sturdy enough tree of good height, it might be enough to put space between you and the marauding elephant. Keep in mind that the elephant might rip the tree down, so be on the lookout for signs that it might try this next.
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