Elephant back rides under the spotlight as Zim tour guide killed

2017-08-07 12:00 - Ishani Chetty
Post a comment 0

Istock Photo

Cape Town - The issue of animal interactions has come under the spotlight once again as a Zimbabwean tour guide has been viciously killed by a domesticated elephant - with the elephant ultimately losing its life due to the incident. 

Victoria Falls is a popular tourist destination for local South Africans and foreigners from all across the world. Its ecosystem is thriving with many species of mammals and elephants are a notable attraction, across Zimbabwe as well as Botswana. 

The power of an Elephant

However Vic Falls Adventure zone states on 22 July 2017 - a horrible incident ended in the death of Enock Kufandanda, a 50-year-old learner guide at Adventure Zone. He had been with the company since 2005. 

Newsday reports an eyewitness account of the incident saying, “I heard him screaming and crying for help, but it was just for seconds. I then rushed to check on him and that is when I met the elephants walking on the road and I spotted Mbanje following from behind covered with blood all over.

“My blood went cold and I already knew what I was about to witness … he was torn apart, all body parts were ravaged,” he said, while sobbing.

It has been reported by eyewitnesses that the incident took place near where the elephants were kept in Victoria Falls.

Brent Williams of Adventure zone conveyed in a Press release that it was sad to lose a long-terms serving member of their team. He stated, “It is with deep regret that we advise everyone that at 14:30 on Saturday, our domesticated elephant bull (Mbjane) charged one of our staff members and this resulted in a guide losing his life". 

WATCH: Cheetah attacks guide at Wildlife Awareness Centre

Due to the incident the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife management authorities have taken serious measures as Williams further states that the decision was made by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife management to destroy Mbanje.

Botswana bans elephant back rides

Since the end of 2016, Botswana put a rule in place to ban elephant back rides. Abu Camp, the only facility that allowed elephant back riding in the country, was directed to terminate its elephant back safaris. 

Botswana is seen as the international custodian of the African elephant and has the world’s greatest herds. At the CITES convention earlier this year, it voluntarily relinquished its Appendix Two listing of elephants, giving them maximum Appendix One status, seeking their further protection. It has also refused to sell it stockpiled ivory and has disallowed all hunting on state land. 

At this point it remains unclear if the same rules will take effect for Zim's Vic Falls Adventure Zone - since this is not the first incident. 

In March 2017 - a NetOne security guard was trampled by an elephant - while on duty at the Victoria Falls -Kazungula Highway.

Williams states, "There is an ongoing investigation as to how and why this occurred" and send their deepest condolences to the family of Kufandanda. 

 PICS: Australian visitor 'attacked' by ostrich near Kruger

What to read next on Traveller24

WATCH: Lighting strikes airport ground worker 

Israel bans Gazans from travelling with laptops 

UPDATE: Manufacturer says corrosion caused thrill ride to break apar