Elephant used for tourist rides tramples handler to death before being shot dead

Tour operator manager said the attack was 'out of the blue'

Rachael Revesz
Tuesday 25 July 2017 11:27
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Enock Kufandada (centre) with Mbanje (left)
Enock Kufandada (centre) with Mbanje (left)

A man who worked as an elephant handler was trampled to death and the investigation into the attack is “drawing blanks”, according to the company manager.

Enock Kufandada, 50, who worked for tour operator Adventure Zone in Zimbabwe, died after being trampled by a domesticated male bull while he tried to herd it into a pen.

His death was described as a “out of the blue” by operators in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

The elephant, called Mbanje, was shot and killed by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers after the attack.

It had been released for grazing alongside the company’s other elephant, a female called Nkanyezi, after a ride.

Adventure Zone managing director Brent Williamson told The Independent that the investigation into the death was “coming up with blanks”.

“It’s really hard as it happened in an isolated area,” he said.

He added: “Why would an animal react like that unless provoked?”

He added that Kufandada had worked with elephants since 2005 and he would be “sincerely missed”.

The Chronicle reported that his wife and two children were in “shock” about the attack, and his son Shepherd said he was concerned that his father had been the only family member to earn an income.

Mr Williamson responded that the family was entitled to Mr Kufandada’s employee benefits and the company had gone "well beyond that”, driving Kufandada’s body and the family to be buried in his rural home of Mutare, and providing the family with food.

After Mbanje was shot, Adventure Zone is left with one elephant, after one was hit by a train, two were rehabilitated and released into the wild and another died “of natural causes”, said Mr Williamson.

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