‘Tame’ jumbo turns on, kills its handler
A “DOMESTICATED” elephant at Zimbabwe’s main tourist resort, Victoria Falls, charged and killed one of its handlers last Saturday.
The dead man, Enock Kufandada, 50, a guide in the tourist resort, was preparing to put Mbanje, the elephant, into a paddock when it turned and charged at him and ripped his body apart.
Mbanje, who was about 30, had been giving tourists rides earlier in the day.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers were called and they shot and killed the raging elephant.
Police confirmed that Kufandada worked at the Victoria Falls tourist company, Adventure Zone, for more than 10 years. Kufandada’s son, Shepherd, said his father’s death was a “great shock”, as he was the only member of the family with a job.
Brent Williamson, who owns and runs Adventure Zone, said he was also “shocked” at the turn of events, as his company has been providing elephant rides for several years. He said he spoke with “deep regret… that our domesticated elephant bull Mbanje charged at one of our staff, which resulted in one of our guides losing his life.” He said Mbanje originally came from the National Parks culling programme.
Glynnis Vaughan, chief inspector of the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ZNSPCA, disputes that African elephants are ever “domesticated”.
She said: “Captured elephants, which were used by several tourist companies, have killed quite a few people in recent years.”
ZNSPCA went to court more than 10 years ago and successfully prosecuted an elephant capturer and a major tourist company in Victoria Falls, which was buying young elephants to domesticate them for rides. Tragically, another two elephants, which roamed around provincial capital Mutare in eastern Zimbabwe, were shot dead by government rangers after they killed a police officer last week. – Foreign Service