Details emerge in fatal elephant attack

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-The 35-year-old man who died instantly after he was trampled by an elephant on Tuesday night in the Omatjete area of the Erongo Region has been identified.
The deceased, who was in the company of others when the elephant charged at them, has been identified as Laurens Hindjo.

Environment and tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda told New Era the victim was walking among other men in the bush late at night when they came across a herd of elephants.

He said preliminary investigations indicated the group was walking from a village in the Omachete area.

“It’s unfortunate a person was killed midnight by an elephant. They were walking from one village where they went to indulge in alcoholic beverages. While they were walking they found a herd of elephants at close range. This man who died took cover at a tree. He climbed a tree, but the elephant managed to shake him off the tree and he fell.

When he fell the elephant trampled on him and he died on the spot,” Muyunda noted.
He said they have taken action by instructing the regional head to conduct further investigations at the site where the attack took place.

Furthermore he appealed to people, especially when they are intoxicated, not to walk late at night as the area is also home to elephants.

“We believe these elephants were somehow provoked. We appeal to people not to undertake journeys at night on foot because elephants are there in the area,” he warned.

Asked on compensation Muyunda said the deceased qualified for the ministry’s Human-Wildlife Conflict Self-Reliance Scheme of N$5 000 towards funeral costs because there is a loss of human life.

Human-wildlife conflicts are interactions between wild animals and humans that result in negative impacts on people and their resources.

Such conflicts largely occur with elephants, hippos, lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas and leopards.

The ministry has no reimbursement policy for damages to property.
Muyunda said the ministry would assist with funeral costs by giving the grieving family N$5 000.

“We give our condolences to the family for this unfortunate incident.”
Over 5 000 incidents of livestock losses, crop damage and attacks on humans by wild animals are recorded each year.

Elephants also cause serious damage to property at water points when they seek water, as well as to fences.

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