Elephant that trampled soldier found
All blogs that are in italics are from report to parks as their Official Veterinarian and Game Warden for Chobe
No obvious wounds were seen so I darted it with Etorphine. We tried to prevent the elephants entering the thick woods adjacent by blocking them with the vehicle but were unsuccessful.
I followed as best I could thru the thick vegetation and had several mock charges from the younger bulls. Visibility was down to 10 meters and quite an uncomfortable situation. After discharging blanks from the dart gun most of the elephants retreated. I would not risk a foot patrol under these conditions so we continued to search with vehicle and luckily found the bull only 20 minutes after darting.
A BDF patrol had heard the blanks going off and thought we were poachers so they set up an ambush on us. Thank goodness they were well trained. This is the second time in less than 48 hours that I have had a gun pointed at me. (A policeman had shot an AK round over my vehicle the previous night as I was assisting Chobe 911 emergency call from a lodge nearby with possible intruders).
On speaking with the officer in command of this 4 man stick. He informed me that the soldier that had been killed by an elephant last week had shot at least 4 times at the charging elephant. This was information I was not aware of. They were on walking patrol of 4 and apparently a bull elephant just charged them. It trampled and killed one of the men. No other details are available.
The bullet size of the bullet wound and age of the injury coincided with the old bull we had sedated.
We decided that this may very possibly be that elephant and could not take the chance that it might injure someone again.
We euthanized old bull while he was still asleep.
|surprise visitors after they stalked us|
|Being told that soldier shot elephant|
It was a sad day that I had to Euthanize this elephant.This was a survivable wound. Most elephants in Chobe are not aggressive. It is my belief that this Bull had been exposed to gunshots before and it probably had a relative killed and when it saw BDF soldiers on patrol to catch poachers it recognized the gun and attacked him. I expect more incidents like this in future if we dont stop the poaching.