Home U.S Elephants trample suspected poacher in South African park; second poacher injured and...

Elephants trample suspected poacher in South African park; second poacher injured and missing

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Elephants at a South African game preserve. HB 3710 now pending at Texas Capitol would bar direct contact with elephants at Texas facilities and attractions.

A herd of breeding elephants trampled a suspected poacher to death while he attempted to flee from South African park rangers.

The fatal encounter happened April 17 after three people ran from the rangers in Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game preserves, according to parks officials.

Rangers, using dogs and aircraft, captured one of the suspects who said the three had run into a herd of elephants and he was not sure if one of the others had escaped.

A second person was found badly trampled and “and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries,” rangers said.

A third suspected poacher is believed to have suffered an eye injury, but had not been found.

When fleeing, the group dropped an axe and a bag with provisions. A rifle was also found, authorities said. They were believed to have been attempting to poach rhinos. Police are investigating and residents living close to the park were asked to help.

Poachers kill rhinos for their horns which can fetch high prices in illegal markets.

A black dehorned rhinoceros walks at the Bona Bona Game Reserve, southeast of Johannesburg in 2012.

 “The campaign against poaching is the responsibility of all us; it threatens many livelihoods, destroys families and takes much-needed resources to fight crime which could be used for creating jobs and development,” Kruger National Park managing executive Gareth Coleman said in a release.

The world’s largest vegetarians, elephants are generally peaceful animals and do not attack animals for food. But conflicts over habitat with humans have driven up violent encounters.

They can be also be aggressive when young calves are present, according to South African National Parks.

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Joel Burgess has lived in WNC for more than 20 years, covering politics, government and other news. He’s written award-winning stories on topics ranging from gerrymandering to police use of force. Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.

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