Elephant attacked KNP tourist

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iol travel dec 12 Serengeti

REUTERS

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Johannesburg - Tourist Sarah Brooks who was attacked by an elephant in the Kruger National Park was recovering in hospital.

Brooks, a tourist from Britain, has been at Medi-Clinic hospital in Nelspruit since last week after the elephant, which was in musth, attacked her and fellow visitor, Jans de Klerk, at the N’waswitshaka waterhole, a Sapa correspondent reported.

They had been filming the elephant from their car when it tore down on them. It overturned the car and pushed it deep into the bush along the road.

Brooks was injured when one of the elephant’s tusks ripped through the back of her upper thigh, while De Klerk was unharmed, but in shock.

The two have refused all attempts to interview them.

Sapa learnt from their Facebook profiles that De Klerk is a graduate of the Pro Arte school in Alphen Park, Pretoria, and now lives and works in Spalding in Lincolnshire in Britain.

Brooks, a Briton who also lives in Spalding, studied biomedical science at Northumbria University and is a teacher at Gleed Girls Technology College.

Medi-Clinic spokeswoman Berdine Malan, said Brooks was in a stable condition, but was unable to say when she would be discharged from hospital.

In a controversial move, the KNP management shot and killed the elephant to prevent it from hurting other people. It's aggression was blamed on a combination of being in musth and also having an injury.

The decision sparked an outcry on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The KNP spokesman William Mabasa said people should not be quick to criticise the decision.

He said people should have more faith in the decisions made by officials with years of experience in the field.

“Our rangers reported that the same elephant bull had been involved in previous fights with other dominant bulls since it has been in musth phase.”

“The elephant showed very aggressive behaviour and had to be put down,” Mabasa said.

This was the third media report about elephants attacking tourists in the KNP during 2013.

On Monday, December 9, an elephant was shot dead when it charged traffic officers on duty at least 3km from the Phalaborwa gate.

On Monday, April 15, a Polish and a Chinese visitor were injured when their vehicle was overturned by an elephant near Punda Maria.

Mabasa advised tourists to maintain a safe distance between themselves and wild animals. - Sapa


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