Animal interactions: Elephant tramples tourists to death in Zambia

2017-11-13 12:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - While trying to take pics close to a wild elephant, two tourists were trampled to death in Zambia on Saturday.

According to AFP, a 64-year-old Dutch man and a 57-year-old Belgium woman were on safari at Maramba River Lodge in Livingstone. They were trying to get close to the animal to take pictures, which led to the elephant charging the woman.

SEE: Elephant back rides under the spotlight as Zim tour guide killed

Police spokesperson Danny Mwale said they found the bodies lying on the ground with multiple injuries.

The Senior Wildlife Warden for the southern region Lewis Daka told the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) that the man tried to save the woman but also got trampled. His department is urging lodge owners to provide guides to visitors to make sure that tourists don't get so close to the animals.

ZNBC reports that there's been an influx of the giant animals in Livingstone and Mosi-o-tunya National Park, and that last week a security officer at another nearby lodge was also trampled by elephants on his way to work. He was cycling through the park when an elephant charged, leading to his company banning employees from travelling through the park to work.

WATCH: Lioness rescues cubs after sudden elephant herd charge

The area has had similar incidents with elephants before. A Zimbabwean tour guide was also trampled by a domesticated elephant that was used in back ride safaris. On Maramba's social media accounts and website, it advertises these same elephant back ride safaris, and uses the elephants who roam its lodge close to its facilities as a unique attraction.

Many tourists in Africa flock to the continent to get an up-close and personal encounter with its wild animals, and unfortunately it has ended in tragedy many times. The general rule of thumb is to keep your distance when viewing these animals, and respect their space.

ALSO SEE: When an elephant says: Enough is enough

Here are a few more tips when viewing animals in parks:

  • Give enough space between vehicles and animals at viewings. Do not hang out of the windows or sunroofs.
  • Do not throw food at animals.
  • Maintain your speed limit in any national park or protected area.
  • Do not consume alcohol especially when driving in the park - it could lead to irrational behaviour.
  • Revving of vehicles should be avoided.
  • Do not walk up to wild animals, as this may agitate them and put them on the defense. 

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