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Elephant gores, kills tourist
Man had approached elephant’s baby
KAMPALA, Uganda (Reuters) — An elephant gored a tourist to death in a Ugandan national park after the man, carrying an 8-year-old boy in his arms, approached the animal’s calf, wildlife officials said on Tuesday.
The elephant used its trunk to hurl the man into a tree, before stamping on him and spearing him with its tusks in Murchison Falls National Park. The 28-year-old man threw the child to safety.
“The tourists were with our ranger, but they alighted from their vehicles and approached quite a huge herd,” Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) spokeswoman Lillian Nsubuga said.
“He says he tried to dissuade them from going closer.”
Female elephants are fiercely protective of anything they perceive as a threat to their young.
Tens of thousands of holidaymakers visit Uganda every year, drawn by the east African country’s rich wildlife and stunning national parks. Animal attacks are very rare.
Nsubuga said game drives were very safe, but illegal hunting had made elephants in Murchison and Uganda’s other parks wary of people approaching on foot.
“They have usually been disturbed by poachers, who move on foot, so they become hostile,” she told Reuters.
Murchison Falls, 300 km (186 miles) northwest of the capital Kampala, is Uganda’s biggest park.
Sunday’s attack took place during a game drive near Nyamsika Cliff, overlooking the Victoria Nile near the falls where it flows into Lake Albert.
Six of the tourists, said by authorities to be Ugandans of Indian origin, left their cars and began photographing an elephant and calf.
A park worker told the state-owned New Vision newspaper the elephant charged at the man before picking him up, stepping on him and piercing his stomach with its tusks.
“It swung him around, hitting him on the trunk of a thick tree,” he told the paper.
The man was dead by the time a rescue team arrived.
Nsubuga said it was not immediately clear whether the boy – who was unhurt – was his son or not. The family returned to Kampala, she said, where the man’s body would be cremated.