A 71-year-old South African man’s love for tourism has ended tragically after he was this week trampled to death by an elephant in full view of his son at Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park.
The incident was confirmed by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo.
A “tuskless” female jumbo this week charged the tourist Michael Bernard Walsh, a Cape Town veterinarian who was accompanied by his 41-year-old son.
The two were taking a morning walk in the park.
Farawo said Walsh was a “loyal tourist” who had been visiting Mana Pools “almost every year” for the past 35 years.
Mana Pools is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its splendid setting along the Zambezi River and surrounding flood plain teeming with elephants and other wildlife.
Michael Bernard Walsh, a veterinarian from Cape Town, was a “loyal tourist” who had been visiting Mana Pools “almost every year” for the past 35 years, said Farawo.
The father and son duo had left their car about 40 meters (44 yards) from the scene of the incident.
“Because of age, unfortunately, the old man couldn’t escape to the vehicle. His son watched as the elephant killed his father,” said Farawo.
“We are extremely concerned because two people have been killed in one week alone,” he said, referring to an earlier fatality in which an anti-poaching coordinator with a conservation group was trampled to death by an elephant in Victoria Falls in western Zimbabwe.
Clever Kapandura, an operations coordinator for the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit, a non-governmental organization, was part of a team of scouts deployed to investigate reports of a possible poaching incident.
“For some unknown reason” an elephant bull charged from about 120 meters (130 yards) away and seized the man and killed him, the organisation said in a statement.
Zimbabwe’s national parks and environmental groups are reporting increasing cases of conflict between humans and wildlife in recent years. More than 40 people have died from such conflicts in parks and other rural areas in Zimbabwe so far this year, said Farawo.