Elephant Tramples Man to Death

A Zimbabwe man has died after being trampled to death by an elephant when he was confronted by a herd while riding his bicycle along the road.

Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda confirmed to NewsDay Zimbabwe on Sunday that Philemon Siampijo died on June 9 when he and his friend Abraham came "across a herd of elephants" while riding along the Sinamusanga-Sengwe fishing camp road.

The spokesperson said that the two men got off their bicycles and attempted to run away from the elephants, before one charged and went after Siampijo. He confirmed that the animal caught up to Siampijo and "trampled him until he died."

Abraham informed Siampijo's family and the rest of the villagers in the area, which is located on the southeastern shore of Lake Kariba in the province of Matabeleland North, before traveling to the local police department and filing a report.

Quartz Africa reports that Zimbabwe has the second biggest elephant population in Africa, with neighboring country Botswana the only nation of the continent with more.

The size of the elephant population on the continent is in decline due to heavy poaching, and the World Wildlife Fund has predicted that if hunting continues at the same rate then the African elephant could be extinct by 2040.

All species of elephants are herbivores, but attacks on humans are common, as at least 100 and up to 500 fatal attacks are reported worldwide every year, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

On June 4, just a few days before Siampijo's death, a teenager was killed by a stray elephant in the Democratic Republic of Congo after the animal ran towards a group of local residents when it felt threatened.

Local residents discovered the animal's exact location in nearby forests after sightings of it had been reported for months, prompting a group to confront the elephant, according to Media Congo.

Desk Nature reported that the elephant felt threatened after seeing the group of residents and charged towards them. The elephant struck several people as it ran through the crowd and killed a 16-year-old boy holding a machete after colliding with him.

The secretary of civil society of the nearby town Lukula, Raphaël Nzau Ndundu told Desk Nature that the "victim was accompanied by his older brothers who could not believe it," and confirmed that his "body is kept in the mortuary of Lukula hospital."

Newsweek has contacted the authorities in Zimbabwe for comment and confirmation of the incident on June 9.

Elephant trampled Zimbabwe man to death
Big male elephant with long trunk close up in Etosha National Park, Namibia, South Africa. A Zimbabwe man died on June 9, 2021, after being trampled to death by an elephant. Vera Shestak/iStock / Getty Images Plus