African bush elephant in Kruger National park, South Africa charging
File Photo - African bush elephant charging open ears in Kruger National park, South Africa. Photo: iStockPhoto

A Field Ranger in the Kruger National Park (KNP) was unfortunately severely injured by an elephant shortly after 08h00 this morning (Tues 20 December).

The unnamed ranger was on patrol in the Pretoriuskop Section, in the south-western part of the Kruger, when the incident occurred, according to the South African National Parks (SANParks).

« Preliminary reports suggest that the injured Field Ranger was on patrol with his colleagues when a breeding herd of elephant crossed the road in front of them, » SANParks said in a statement.

« One of the elephants turned back and charged the Field Ranger which resulted in him sustaining serious injuries. His colleagues managed to rescue him by firing a warning shot at the elephant which ran off, and they were able to immediately call for help. »

Ranger Severely Injured by Elephant in Kruger National Park
File photo – Elephant herd crossing a road in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Photo: iStockPhoto

A helicopter with a doctor and support team on board immediately responded. The injured Field Ranger was stabilised on the scene, and transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital for further medical attention.

Head Ranger Catherine Dreyer expressed relief that the Field Ranger was not fatally wounded, and was quickly attended to. “These are the daily dangers that we face in protecting our natural heritage and the Park from all wildlife crime. The possibility of being attacked by a dangerous wild animal are always present; and in some instances, unavoidable, especially with the bush being so thick during this time of the year. »

She said the thicker bush makes it « difficult to see animals from a distance and have sufficient time to react. We are grateful though that we managed to stabilise our colleague and transport him to hospital, and we have him and his family in our prayers. We would also like to thank all Field Rangers who were with him at the time and assisted in stabilizing and transporting him under very difficult conditions. »

The name of the injured Field Ranger is being withheld, until his family has been formally notified. There will be a debriefing report compiled by the Rangers Corps into the incident as per protocol, and the results will be handed to the KNP Management Committee. Ranger Services are continually looking at ways to improve the safety of Rangers on patrol, said SANParks.