By Matthew Beard
Tuesday, 3 October 2006
A British man on a honeymoon safari in Kenya has been trampled to death in front of his wife by a stampeding elephant.
Patrick Smith, 34, from London, was with his wife, Julie, on an early morning walking safari in the Masai Mara game reserve when he was struck by the elephant in what has been described as a "tragic accident".
Mr Smith, an IT worker with the Reuters media group, where his wife also worked, had only been married for a week before his death on Sunday.
The couple were on foot with an escort 300 metres from their camp at the time. Richard's Camp is described as an upmarket encampment on the edge of a forest in an area known for elephant and other wildlife. It is around 106 miles south-west of the capital, Nairobi.
Jake Grieves-Cook, chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board, said he understood a herd of elephants had been startled by something and charged the couple, killing Mr Smith and knocking over the guide.
"No one knows what startled the elephants but the guide was doing everything right," he said. "They were downwind and thought they were at a safe distance. Elephants have very poor eyesight so this was not an attack. It was a tragic accident."
It remained unclear last night whether the animal had indeed been startled or whether it was a "rogue" member of the herd that had struck without any apparent reason.
A Kenya Wildlife Service spokeswoman, Connie Maina, said that efforts would be made to track the animal to determine what had happened. Ms Maina said it was possible that the elephant had been startled. "It is very unusual ... but accidents can happen," she said. "It is very unfortunate. They say it was one elephant - I'm trying to find out whether it was a lone bull."
She added that the KWS would monitor elephants in the area to determine if there was a rogue animal at large. "We will try to monitor to see if we can get any leads, if it is a rogue elephant it may do this again. But we don't have any information on whether it is or not."
She added that the incident had shocked wardens in the reserve. "Everyone is feeling it," she said. "It is terrible. They were on honeymoon. The wife saw what happened. I am told the wife is OK but is shaken up."
A spokesman for Reuters said: "It is a very tragic situation, we are sending our condolences to the family. We are trying to help them practically as best we can."
A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed Mr Smith's identity and said that consular assistance was being offered to the family. It is thought that Mr Smith's body had been flown from a nearby landing strip to Nairobi. It is understood that other family members were flying out to be with Mrs Smith.
Although humans are occasionally killed by elephants, it normally occurs where tourists encroach on to land used by them. The group including the honeymoon couple were thought to have taken all sensible precautions. When tourists are taken on walks through the bush, they are accompanied by rangers armed with rifles.
In 2000, another Briton was trampled to death by an elephant in the Masai Mara reserve, when he ventured out of a secure compound to take a photograph of it.
Source: The Independent
September 18, 2008
Tanzania - A first of its kind civil suit in Tanzania's tourism history is taking place in the northern tourist city of Arusha this week against luxury Tarangire Safari Lodge over negligence that led to a leopard attack of a 7-year-old French boy.
French tourist, Mr. Adelino Pereira, had sued Sinyati Limited, which owns Tarangire Safari Lodge, over its management's negligence which caused the death of his 7-year-old son, Adrian Pereira who was attacked and killed by a leopard at the lodge compound three years ago.
Witnesses told the Tanzanian Court that the leopard frequented the lodge verandah Wednesdays and Saturdays during barbecue dinners and has been a good attraction to lodge visitors. It was feeding on leftovers supplied by the lodge staff.
Wildlife attacking humans are common in Tanzania, but most cases occur in unprotected areas where lions kill and eat humans, while leopards commonly attack people for protection. Leopards, which are found everywhere in Tanzania, are usually seen hunting for goats and chicken rather than humans.