Man, 68, Survived After Elephant Impaled Him With Tusk

An elephant never forgets, and a man who was attacked by one of the animals managed to survive an encounter that is also likely to be forever etched in his memory.

Emile Moussavou, 68, came across an isolated elephant near his village of Cachilaire, in the Como-Kango region of Gabon when he was checking on his traps, local news outlet L'Union reported.

But Moussavou was taken by surprise by the animal which charged him while his back was turned, planted a tusk on his left leg, and threw him several meters in front of him.

Injured, Mousssavou managed to extricate himself from the tusk and run away and hide from the animal. He crawled to his village where locals tended to him before he was taken to hospital in the latest incident involving the animals over the last five months,

Elephant in Gabon
A forest elephant at Langoue Bai in Ivindo national park, Gabon in this illustrative image from 2019. There has been an increase in attacks by the animals on humans in the central African country. AMAURY HAUCHARD/Getty

"We have recorded no less than five elephant attacks on men near the village," a local source told L'Union.

The Gabon Media Time reported that the incident, which took place on August 7, was one of a growing number of attacks of humans by elephants who come into inhabited areas, sparking concern in particular among those living in the province of Ogooué-Ivindo.

The animals are drawn to human settlements because of deforestation, which destroys the habitat and the trees which provide the fruit they need to survive.

Although elephants are herbivores, they frequently attack humans and there can be between 100 and 500 fatal incidents a year, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The largest populations of African forest elephants in West and Central Africa are in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.

However, heavy poaching has put elephant numbers in decline, and the World Wildlife Fund has warned that the current rate of hunting could mean the African elephant becomes extinct by 2040.

In May, in the Gabon province of Ogooue Lolounter, a hunter in his late fifties was killed by an elephant that ambushed him and trampled him to death.

In June, a 16-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed by an elephant that ran towards a group of local residents when it felt threatened. The elephant had been living in forests in the town of Kiniati, in the Kongo Central province, according to Media Congo.

Meanwhile, in December 2020, a man was disemboweled and trampled to death by an elephant in Makueni, Kenya.

Charles Mutisya, 73, was killed while he was working on his farm in the Nthunguni area of Kibwezi East sub-county. The animal had strayed from the nearby Tsavo East National Park.