Knysna Elephant Park guide killed in elephant encounter

Posted by Anita Froneman on 20 October 2021

Shepherd Chuma, a guide at Knysna Elephant Park, was killed after an encounter with an elephant on Saturday, 16 October.

The Park released a statement regarding Chuma’s death, saying the incident occurred ‘whilst the guides were returning a group of elephants to their night camp after a day spent in the free-roaming camp adjacent to the Park, where they often go to forage in the bush.’

‘Saturday’s severe weather conditions are thought to have been a contributing factor to the elephant’s unprecedented behaviour,’ the Park added.

Chuma was employed at the Park for over 10 years. There are no further details around the incident or cause of death at this time.

Abigail Moyo, a spokesperson for Chuma’s family, told IOL that ‘he is not the first person to die there. I think he has told of two deaths in that park before’.

Knysna Elephant Park is a captive elephant facility that offers elephant feeding, elephant walks, photoshoots and other elephant encounters. In 2014, the NSPCA laid animal cruelty charges against Elephants of Eden, a facility that has since stopped operating but was owned by the Knysna Elephant Park.

‘The NSPCA received horrific footage depicting cruel and abusive training methods employed to control and train baby and young elephants for the elephant-based tourist industry,’ the NSPCA said in a 2019 statement. The case is still open and ongoing. It is expected to appear again in court within the month of October.

Picture: Knysna Elephant Park


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