Elephant_Kruger_National_ParkThe decision to euthanize an elephant that attacked tourists in the Kruger National Park last year was taken after proper consideration, SA National Parks (SANParks) said on Thursday. (January 16, 2014)

MY COMMENTS: Whatever! There are a few organizations that would have open heartily taken this elephant for rehabilitation or even relocated this gentle giant.

“… The decision to euthanize the animal was not taken lightly, but (was) based on the information from our well-experienced rangers’ assessment (that) the animal was likely to attack tourist vehicles in the future,” spokesman Reynold Thakhuli said in a statement.

MY COMMENTS: The well-experienced rangers assessment probably only stated the attacks & dominance of the elephant, and not the proper consideration of relocating the animal to another piece of land where no tourists could be hurt.

On December 30, the elephant bull attacked Sarah Brooks and her South African-born fiancé Jans de Klerk, who live the UK, in their car near the N’waswitshaka waterhole, near the Pretoriuskop rest camp.

They were following the elephant along a dirt road when it turned around, flipped their car over, and pushed it several hundred meters into the bush.

One of the elephant’s tusks pierced the back of Brooks’s thigh. She was airlifted to the Medi-Clinic hospital in Nelspruit and was discharged on January 6.

The park decided to shoot the elephant, and said it had previously shown aggressive behaviour towards other elephants.

MY COMMENTS: As if lions do not show aggressive behaviour towards each other, are you going to shoot them next? – All wild animals should have a natural aggressive instinct for survival because they are not domesticated! “They are not pets”, that’s why we call them wild.

Kruger National Park managing executive Abe Sibiya said in the statement that conflicts would inevitably occur in environments where humans and animals were in close contact.

COMMENTS: Who is at fault? – But the animal dies for it! Is it not the parks duties, responsibilities and mandate to conserve rather than killing!

Does it not matter what measures of extent should be taken to rather save a life.

The park had rules in place to minimize the chances of injury, but some visitors irresponsibly ignored these rules.

“Tourists need to change their behaviour when on self-game drives…. We drive this message in our communication at check-in points, on our brochures and on the permits.”

COMMENTS: I agree that the tourists need to change their behaviour whilst been at parks that house wild animals, yet again the elephant had to die! “As they commonly say, it all starts from the top” or do you not think that SANParks should change their behaviour?

Sibiya said the people who filmed the attack, footage of which was posted on the internet this week, needed to co-operate with SANParks.

“The law stipulates that evidence such as this should be accompanied by a written statement from eyewitnesses, as the footage cannot be the only permissible evidence in order to sanction any fine against the alleged perpetrators.”

Les Hes, a wildlife guide of 35 years’ experience in reading animal behaviour, watched the footage of the attack and concluded that the tourists were at fault by driving too close behind the elephant.

“It is actually very tragic that they had to shoot this elephant because of some stupid tourists…. When watching the video, it’s clear that this was definitely the fault of the tourists,” he said.

COMMENTS: Thank you Les. Does anyone in the park have the knowledge to suggest that this behaviour can be dealt with and the innocent elephant not be killed? I don’t know!

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