Hwange ele­phant tram­ples Byo man

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Harare Bureau

A MAN from Bu­l­awayo, Mr Stephen Coet­zee (25), was tram­pled to death by a fe­male ele­phant in the Hwange Na­tional Park on Mon­day.

Zim­babwe Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment Author­ity spokesper­son Ms Caro­line Washaya-Moyo con­firmed the in­ci­dent.

She said Mr Coet­zee, who was in the com­pany of his brother Chris­tian, was at­tacked about 24 kilo­me­tres from Main Camp to­wards Gu­valala Plat­form in the gi­ant park.

“Stephen Coet­zee was in the com­pany of his brother Chris­tian Coet­zee and a fe­male friend and had gone for a day visit in Hwange Na­tional Park when the un­for­tu­nate and sad in­ci­dent hap­pened,” Ms Washaya-Moyo said.

“The trio, all Zim­bab­weans who re­side in Bu­l­awayo, en­tered Hwange Na­tional Park through Si­na­matela and had in­tended to exit through the Main Camp Gate. It is al­leged that six kilo­me­tres af­ter Gu­valala Plat­form, the trio came across a herd of ele­phants and the now de­ceased is al­leged to have dis­em­barked from the ve­hi­cle to take pic­tures, un­be­known to him that there were some ele­phants which were yet to cross the road.”

Ms Washaya-Moyo added: “It was at that point that a fe­male ele­phant ap­peared from the blind side at­tack­ing and killing Stephen on the spot. A re­port was quickly made to the po­lice in Dete and the de­ceased’s body has been taken to Hwange Col­liery Mor­tu­ary.”

The un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent hap­pened at a time when Zim­babwe is fight­ing the pro­posed up-list­ing of its ele­phants from Ap­pen­dix II to Ap­pen­dix I.

If the pro­posal sails through at the forth­com­ing CoP17 to be held in South Africa next month, Zim­babwe and other coun­tries will be banned from com­mer­cial hunt­ing and trad­ing of ele­phants and li­ons.

Zim­babwe is ar­gu­ing that the pro­posal among other things could fuel hu­man-wildlife con­flict in com­mu­ni­ties ad­ja­cent to game parks.

The coun­try has since re­jected the pro­posal and is lob­by­ing other coun­tries to block the pro­posal.

Cur­rently, it is es­ti­mated that Zim­babwe has a pop­u­la­tion of 84,000 ele­phants, which is be­yond the coun­try’s car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity.

Peo­ple ad­ja­cent to game parks have also op­posed the pro­posed ban, say­ing they were ben­e­fit­ing from wildlife con­ser­va­tion ac­tiv­i­ties in their ar­eas.

The late Stephen Coet­zee

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