Citizen (South Africa)

Elephant shot dead in Kruger Park staff village

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Elephant shot dead in Kruger Park staff village

Field rangers had no choice but to shoot the elephant, who was endangering the lives of staff at Pretoriuskop village in the Kruger Park. Image: Lowvelder

SANParks released a statement to confirm the tragic incident and to explain that shooting the bull was the last resort taken by the field rangers.

Drastic but life-saving measures were taken when a young elephant bull charged SANParks staff members at the Pretoriuskop rest camp in the Kruger National Park (KNP) recently, reports Lowvelder.

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Field rangers had no choice but to shoot the elephant, who was endangering the lives of staff, SANParks said, adding that after being shot, the elephant ran out of the living quarters and died.

There were several outraged comments on social media about the shooting, but an admin of the SANParks group reassured members that there was no alternative, and that the rangers had to make an instant life-or-death decision.

The bull would have become more agitated and aggressive if he remained in the village, SANParks said. Young bulls become very dangerous and far more aggressive when in musth.

The musth can be defined as a periodical change of the behaviour of elephant bulls due to hormones, which can last for weeks or months. In the musth period, a bull produces 40 to 60 times more testosterone than in the non-musth time, making them more prone to aggression.

Last week, a 63-year-old female villager was killed by a hippo near the Kruger National Park. Muthavini Luceth Masungwini of Magona village, about 27 kilometres east of Malamulele, was crushed to death by a hippo near her home in the night.

Several locals had apparently warned of the hippo and her calf in the area.

The death of the elderly woman highlighted the danger faced by people living near the park. Locals also lamented the destruction of the fence that used to keep the animals away.

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