A field ranger in the Kruger National Park was severely injured after being attacked by an elephant on Tuesday.
SA National Parks (SANParks) spokesperson Ike Phaahla said the ranger was attacked while on patrol in the Pretoriuskop region of the park.
It happened around 8am.
Elephant charges ranger
Phaahla said the ranger was on patrol with his colleagues when a herd of elephants crossed the road in front of them.
“One of the elephants turned back and charged the field ranger, which resulted in him sustaining serious injuries. His colleagues managed to rescue him by firing a warning shot at the elephant, which ran off, and they were able to immediately call for help,” said Phaahla.
The ranger was stabilised and taken to hospital by helicopter.
Rangers risk being attacked every day
Head ranger Catherine Dreyer said rangers in the Kruger National Park are at risk of being attacked by animals every day.
“These are the daily dangers we face in protecting our natural heritage and the park from all wildlife crime,” said Dreyer.
“The possibility of being attacked by a dangerous wild animal is always present. In some instances, unavoidable, especially with the bush being so thick during this time of the year. It makes it difficult to see animals from a distance and have sufficient time to react.”
Dreyer said said she was relieved the field ranger was not fatally wounded.
“We are grateful though that we managed to stabilise our colleague and transport him to hospital, and we have him and his family in our prayers.”
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Attacks by elephants can be quite common.
In June, two tourists at at Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, in KwaZulu-Natal, were lucky to escape unharmed when an elephant attacked their car.
The bull elephant reportedly threw their car into a ditch on the side of the road.
The tourists, who asked not to be named, said they moved their car, a Ford Figo, to the side of the road to let the animal pass.
“As the elephant walked toward the car, it somehow decided to acknowledge the presence of the Ford Figo by just laying its trunk on the bonnet. As this was an unexpected action by the elephant, the driver tried to extricate his car from the situation. The elephant, however, did not appreciate the driver’s behaviour,” said Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo.
The animal reacted by smashing its tusk through the passenger’s window. It then lifted the car and threw it into the ditch.
NOW READ: Tourists left shaken after elephant throws car into ditch at KZN’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park