Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Hwange elephant tramples Byo man

Hwange elephant tramples Byo man
The late Stephen Coetzee

The late Stephen Coetzee

Harare Bureau
A MAN from Bulawayo, Mr Stephen Coetzee (25), was trampled to death by a female elephant in the Hwange National Park on Monday. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo confirmed the incident.

She said Mr Coetzee, who was in the company of his brother Christian, was attacked about 24 kilometres from Main Camp towards Guvalala Platform in the giant park.

“Stephen Coetzee was in the company of his brother Christian Coetzee and a female friend and had gone for a day visit in Hwange National Park when the unfortunate and sad incident happened,” Ms Washaya-Moyo said.

“The trio, all Zimbabweans who reside in Bulawayo, entered Hwange National Park through Sinamatela and had intended to exit through the Main Camp Gate. It is alleged that six kilometres after Guvalala Platform, the trio came across a herd of elephants and the now deceased is alleged to have disembarked from the vehicle to take pictures, unbeknown to him that there were some elephants which were yet to cross the road.”

Ms Washaya-Moyo added: “It was at that point that a female elephant appeared from the blind side attacking and killing Stephen on the spot. A report was quickly made to the police in Dete and the deceased’s body has been taken to Hwange Colliery Mortuary.”

The unfortunate incident happened at a time when Zimbabwe is fighting the proposed up-listing of its elephants from Appendix II to Appendix I.

If the proposal sails through at the forthcoming CoP17 to be held in South Africa next month, Zimbabwe and other countries will be banned from commercial hunting and trading of elephants and lions.

Zimbabwe is arguing that the proposal among other things could fuel human-wildlife conflict in communities adjacent to game parks.

The country has since rejected the proposal and is lobbying other countries to block the proposal.

Currently, it is estimated that Zimbabwe has a population of 84,000 elephants, which is beyond the country’s carrying capacity.

People adjacent to game parks have also opposed the proposed ban, saying they were benefiting from wildlife conservation activities in their areas.

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