Elephant Tramples Man to Death, Drags Body Away

A farmer has been trampled to death as he tried to chase a herd of elephants away from his crop field.

Abner Petrus, 46, is reported to have lost his life after one of the animals attacked him from behind. The incident took place when Petrus, along with his wife and his daughter, made attempts to drive a group out of their pearl millet field on Saturday.

His body, which is believed to have been dragged away from the scene by a member of the herd, was discovered by villagers the following day. His wife and daughter escaped unharmed.

The incident happened in Okatha-Kiikombo, a village in the Omusati region of northern Namibia. It is home to African bush elephants, which are the largest land animals on the planet.

African bush elephants, which are also known as desert or desert-dwelling elephants, can grow to 6.6 tons and measure more than 10 feet tall at the shoulder.

They are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"It is alleged that the man and his family managed to drive the animals out of the field and after they tried to chase them further away into the bushes," said Omusati regional commander, Commissioner Titus Shikongo.

"In the process, one elephant emerged from behind and attacked the man."

In addition to poaching, human-wildlife conflict is a major issue in Namibia, with incidents on the rise in the country.

Namibia's environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta, has said elephants have been causing more damage to crops, water infrastructure and property than any other animal in nine of the country's 14 regions.

Animals that are considered a danger to humans, their land or livestock are often relocated or killed, and 170 elephants are currently in the process of being auctioned off.

"The process of selling the elephants is currently at the stage of discussion and negotiation of contracts, and the elephant population in specific hotspots will be reduced to minimize the conflict as we sell the elephants," Shifeta told the National Assembly last week.

However, he also added that the government is not obliged to compensate farmers whose crop fields and property are damaged, or whose livestock are killed by wild animals.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has predicted that the African elephant could be extinct by 2040, with poaching and human-wildlife conflict as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation the main threats to the survival of the species.

A bull African elephant
A stock image shows a bull African elephant, unrelated to the animal that attacked Abner Petrus. The farmer was trampled after trying to chase a herd of elephants away from his farm. iStock