Elephant Kills Conservation Hero Responding to Poaching Incident Report

An anti-poaching team in southern Africa has said that one of its team members has been killed after he was attacked by a charging elephant while on duty.

The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit said in a Facebook status that Clever Kapandura, who was born in 1973, was charged at by a bull elephant while responding to a report of poaching on Friday, October 8.

The team's operations coordinator died as a result of his injuries sustained during the attack before an ambulance could arrive to take him to a local hospital.

The team paid tribute to Kapandura who joined them in 1999 and leaves behind a wife and children.

"His experience and commitment to the tourism and conservation sector has spanned over 32 years, having been part of the original Wilderness Safaris team when the company first began in 1990 before moving across to dedicate his life to wildlife
conservation," read the statement.

"Clever was a kind, dedicated, passionate, and well-respected member of the Victoria Falls community, and the wider tourism community within Zimbabwe, and is considered by so many as one of the region's conservation heroes," the statement continued. "We are deeply saddened by this tragic and senseless loss of our friend and colleague."

The statement from the anti-poaching team which operates in Victoria Falls, which is located ion the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, said that the incident occurred when Kapandura and a team were responding to a report of a possible poaching incident.

Arriving at the scene, the team noticed an elephant observing them from a distance of approximately 120 meters. When the elephant charged, the team of three took evasive action, splitting up but it caught Kapandura.

His team members managed to scare the animal away and called for support. The team still does not know why the elephant charged.

In 2020, 112 people were killed worldwide as a result of an elephant attack, according to the Xinhua news agency. Research published in 2019 indicated that elephants are being forced into interactions with humans as a result of the destruction of their natural habitat.

This has caused the deaths of both humans and elephants in Africa and India. In Kenya alone, elephants killed 200 humans between 2010 and 2017. Elephant losses in the country, and in Africa in general, are difficult to gauge as a result of the ivory poaching trade.

Other organizations in the region also took to social media to pay tribute to him. Africa Addict, a travel agency operating across southern Africa said in a Facebook post: "Those who protect and save animals, lead the way in protecting and saving humanity and the Earth itself. Rest in Peace our Friend.

"He was always smiling. A huge loss for our community."

The 2015-2021 World Heritage Species Initiative also posted condolences to both the family of Kapandura and to the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit.

The anti-poaching group has said that a fundraiser to assist the family of Kapandura will be launched in the near future.

African elephant
A stock image of an African elephant. An anti-poaching team member was killed on Friday after being charged by a bull elephant in Victoria Falls. lara_zanarini/Getty