“An elephant never forgets,” as the old adage goes. Apparently they don’t forgive either. A suspected poacher found this out the hard way and lost his life in Kruger National Park when he and two accomplishes ran into an elephant herd.
South African National Parks made an announcement on April 18th, detailing the criminal activities that had taken place the previous day. During a routine patrol, Field Rangers came across three individuals who began to flee upon being detected. Amidst their evading of pursuit, they left behind a number of provisions including an axe and rifle. Not exactly things you would normally take into a park for a routine day of enjoyment, right?
In their attempt to flee from the park authorities, the suspects encountered an elephant herd. It was there that one of the potential poachers was trampled to death. A second was later apprehended, and confirmed that the third suspect had received an eye injury but either did not, or could not, confirm their whereabouts.
In a statement by the park’s Managing Executive, Gareth Coleman, a mention was made about how “Only through discipline, teamwork, and tenacity will we be able to help stem the tide of rhino poaching…” indicating that the suspects were specifically after rhinoceros.
This isn’t the first time poachers have been killed by animals either, because if you think the previously mentioned suspect had it bad, at least he wasn’t eaten by lions as well. That’s what happened in 2019 in the very same park. Once again it was a suspected rhino poacher. And in case you were keeping score, the lions got another one in 2018, that time in the Sibuya reserve.
In all seriousness though, loss of human life isn’t something to be celebrated really in a tally of people vs. nature. These suspects were allegedly committing horrible, illegal, and repugnant acts that also happened to be incredibly dangerous. They showed a disrespect towards nature and nature repaid the favor in kind. Poaching still happens all too often with approximately 1,000 rhinos poached every year between 2013 and 2017. Regrettably there’s still high demand for the use of rhino horns as a medicinal item and wealth symbol in various parts of the world.
It’s discouraging and saddening to know that these kind of greedy and heartless acts can still exist today. Poaching continues despite the best efforts to stop these criminals in their tracks. But the rest of nature can be just as unforgivingly brutal as humanity can be, as an elephant herd was quick to show. It’s a lesson would be poachers would do well not to forget.