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A bloody end to a bloody career: Poacher trampled by elephant

on May 15, 2013

In a grizzly and bloody scene, a man was found trampled to death in the grounds of a national park in Zimbabwe. The man, a Zimbabwean himself, is believed to be a poacher who found himself on the wrong end of an elephant’s tusk after shooting at the animal but failing to kill it; and was trampled to death.

Elephants are extremely dangerous animals; an adult bull can weigh over 7 tons and wield all the power that comes with that; armed with a prehensile trunk and formidable tusks, an elephant is more than capable of defending itself from an aggressor, and a man shooting at it will certainly be perceived as an aggressor. This particular poacher didn’t get lucky as others have; his shots did not put the elephant down and in a state of fear and aggression, the animal killed him.

Adult Elephants (Loxodonta africana) bull protecting his family

Elephants are becoming a prime target for poachers again after a recent population boom.

But the real problem is with those poachers who do manage to put down the elephants (and other animals) for which they hunt. This incident reminds us of the ever continuing conflict between humans and other animals taking place all over the world. Many of the flagship species of the African bush are prime targets for hunters looking to sell body parts for a large international market; rhinoceros, elephant, lion and many more are targeted.

Poaching is becoming an increasingly difficult problem as a result of growing markets for animal body parts in Asia. Perhaps most famously, rhino horn, when powdered, is used as a medicine for a range of ailments in East Asia, however, the benefits of such medicine have never been confirmed by medicinal science. Rhino horn, elephant ivory and other such items are also hunted for and traded as trophies, to be mounted on walls and mantelpieces, apparently so that insecure people can demonstrate their perceived power and wealth. I’m sure that you’ll agree that these beautiful animals are dying unnecessarily, for reasons that we find embarrassing and outrageous.

When it comes to poaching, there are few winners, often not even the poachers themselves who are often victims of poverty and desperate to earn money, often to support families, and are willing to take huge risks to do it. Zimbabwe is home to some of the poorest people in the world, but also reserves of impressive, ivory bearing elephants and the poaching incident mentioned above is by no means an isolated one. Many Zimbabweans, as well as people all over Africa, are willing to risk their lives, risking death by animal attack or even by the rifle of an anti-poaching patrol to acquire animal body parts and sell them on the black market.

Although poaching is on the rise, and many species/sub-species of African animal are in serious trouble, I would hope that the dedicated and passionate conservation efforts taking place all over Africa, might be enough to turn the tide. There is a war going on between wildlife and the poachers, let us hope that the right side wins and if you encounter a way to help then please do.

Stay tuned,




If you liked this entry, make sure you check out our Dangerous Animals category.
Other Dangerous Animals entries:
When Herbivores Attack: Buffalo & Hippo
Adam Sandler attacked by cheetah in South Africa
When Herbivores Attack: Elephants & Rhinos

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