Elephant Tramples Tourist to Death After He Left His Car During Safari

An African elephant has trampled a tourist to death in Uganda after he left his car during a game drive.

The victim, Ayman Sayed Elshahany, was killed on Tuesday 25 January at the Murchison Falls national park.

Murchison Falls is Uganda's largest and oldest national park, and lies northwest of its capital, Kampala. Visitors are free to explore it unaccompanied in their own vehicles.

A Uganda Wildlife Authority spokesperson, Bashir Hangi, said in a statement that Elshahany had been taking the game drive with friends, when they decided to stop along the way.

Hangi said Elshahany left the car and that the elephant charged and killed him on the spot.

Citing local news outlets, the U.K newspaper The Times reported that the victim and his friends had left the rented car in the morning to relieve themselves. The victim is believed to have walked further away and was unable to run back to safety in time.

Park officials said that police would review security protocols to avoid incidents like this happening in the future. Officials will also investigate the death to determine why the elephant charged at him.

No action has been taken against the elephant, The Times reported.

The male elephant may have been in musth, The Times reported, which is a reproductive period where male elephants can become extremely aggressive. This is because during breeding, male elephants experience a surge in testosterone. During musth, testosterone levels are about 60 times higher than normal.

Musth has been linked to cases where male elephants attack rhinos or wander into villages destroying crops.

Following the incident, the Uganda Wildlife Authority urged the public to take precaution and to avoid putting themselves in harm's way when visiting national parks. It also assured the public that the parks remain safe.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred in Uganda's national parks. Uganda has a total of ten national parks and thirteen wildlife sanctuaries.

In the Queen Elizabeth National Park in 2018, a leopard snatched and killed a toddler.

In another incident this month, a male elephant in musth was seen flipping over a car in South Africa.

In a video of the incident posted to Facebook by Port Elizabeth Traffic Updates, the bull can be seen using its trunk to roll a white car onto its side in Cape Vidal.

After the attack, the car was destroyed. The windows were smashed or badly broken and nearly all of the exterior was dented.

African elephant
A stock photo shows an African elephant. Male elephants can become aggressive when breeding. rhardholt/Getty Images