A suspected rhino poacher was trampled to death by a herd of elephants while fleeing from park rangers in South Africa. According to South African officials, the incident took place on Saturday when three people, suspected of hunting rhinos, were spotted by rangers in the southern portion of Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves which is home to rhinos, lions, elephants, leopards, and buffalos.
The park services, in a press release said, the man was among the trio who were discovered after their tracks were picked up in the Phabeni region of the park. As they tried to flee the scene, the three men ran into a herd of elephants and their calves, as per authorities.
While one of the suspects was arrested during a chase involving helicopters and dog units, he told the officials that he suspected one of his accomplices who ran into a herd of elephants might have been dead. Later, a “badly trampled” body was found when the poachers’ trail was re-traced by rangers and the third suspect. The suspect who was injured in the eye managed to escape during the exercise. The investigators are searching for him.
A rifle, a bag containing an axe, and provisions were left behind by men suspected of attempting to poach rhinos, according to officials, reported ABC News.
Gareth Coleman, Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park, issued a statement regarding the matter and applauded the team for their efforts. He stated they are proud of the teamwork and dedication of Rangers Corp, aviators and the K9 unit.
Mourning the death of the man, he stated the incident as ‘unfortunate’ and claimed that poaching of rhinos in KNP can only be prevented “through discipline, teamwork and tenacity.” The statement reads that the campaign to stop poaching is everyone’s responsibility as it threatens many livelihoods, destroys families and uses “much needed resources” that could be used for creating jobs and development.
Locals living around the park are urged to come forward to help police identify and capture the third person who escaped, he appealed.