KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – A French tourist visitor had a near fatal run in with an elephant at Murchisons Falls National Park last week. Ignoring guidance habitually given to visitors, to take a ranger with them for their game drive, the group approached some elephants to within very close range before switching their car engine off. Little did they know that a female elephant with a small cub was taking this intrusion into her space as a potential threat to her newly born and promptly went on the attack. With the engine off the car could not back up and escape in time and was, according to park sources, rolled over by the mother elephant, before she retreated towards her baby.
Another car, which had properly stopped at a safe distance, immediately alerted the park headquarters from where a rescue team was dispatched to attend to the injured tourists. First aid was administered to the two injured visitors at Masindi General Hospital before they were evacuated to the Kampala International Hospital for further treatment. None of the injuries were reported to be life threatening.
Uganda Wildlife Authority then pointed out for the general public and foreign visitors to observe park rules, keeping a safe distance from the wild animals when game viewing and taking guides and / or rangers with them from park head quarters instead of setting out on their own. It was also said that the incident was extremely rare and completely avoidable, if the visitors had observed basic rules or exercised some common sense.
It is recommended for tourists to use the services of a licensed tour operator in good standing when visiting Ugandan national parks. Details of such firms can be obtained from the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) via email@example.com or visit their website at www.auto.or.ug.