HARARE – A Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority ranger was attacked and killed by three elephants at the Hwange National Park yesterday.
Lovemore Mpeki Maphosa, 61, of Main Camp, was killed while on patrol with two other rangers. Maphosa was on an extended 10-day patrol that started on October 15, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said in a statement.
Mpeki, who was due to retire, had requested for an extension of service for a further five years due to his passion and commitment to conservation and the authority had okayed the extension.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said the late ranger left his patrol base to relieve himself.
Five minutes later, the other rangers heard some noise from elephants and screams of a human being. The rangers ran towards the direction where the noise was coming from and they found Maphosa lying on the ground writhing in agony.
Maphosa told his colleagues that he had been attacked by three elephants.
The elephants could be seen at a distance of about 400m going away.
Other rangers assisted the injured ranger to get back to the base because he could not walk on his own.
One of his ears had been mauled and he was complaining that his right leg femur bone could have been broken.
The Main Camp area manager and a nurse attended to the injured ranger, who was already unconscious. He was rushed to Hwange Colliery Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Caroline Washaya-Moyo, the authority’s spokesperson, said: “We are saddened by the untimely death of our senior officer at a time every effort is being made to counter poaching incidences in Hwange National Park.”