“We regret to inform the public that one person has been killed by an elephant in Murchison Falls National Park. The unfortunate incident happened today at around 11:00am. The deceased Ayman Sayed Elshahany a Saudi Arabian national, together with his three colleagues was traveling in a Toyota station wagon Wish Motor Vehicle No. UBJ917 from the neighboring Masindi town, transiting through the park to Arua City in West Nile. They stopped along the way and the deceased went out of car. An elephant charged him killing him on the spot. We are saddened by this incident, and we convey our deepest sympathies to the deceased’s family and friends.”
The unfortunate incident was reported to Pakwach Police and UWA is working closely with the police to ensure that this matter is investigated fully.
The park authorities appealed to the public, especially those transiting through protected areas to take precaution and avoid putting themselves in harm’s way.
UWA is reviewing safety protocols to enhance them to avoid a repeat of such incidents and has assured the public that Uganda’s parks remain safe to all visitors.
When asked to for his take on how the incident could have been avoided Uganda Tourist Association (UTA) President Herbert Byaruhanga who is also Tourism Skills Sector Chairman had this to say:
“There should be a senior person at every entrance where people pay for entrance. This person is tasked to brief whoever is entering the
national park. It is very likely that once people are briefed, they pay attention. Also, there should be speed cameras at Murchison Falls National Park. Solar powered speed cameras would inform the traffic wardens at the headquarters. There should be leaflets at the entrance
which should be given to every tourist who enters the park ”
African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth, weighing up to six tons. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears that look somewhat like the continent of Africa. (Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears).
Although they were long grouped together as one species, scientists have determined that there are actually two species of African elephants—and that both are at risk of extinction. Savanna elephants are larger animals that roam the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, while forest elephants are smaller animals that live in the forests of Central and West Africa.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists savanna elephants as endangered and forest elephants as critically endangered.
There are around 5,000 elephants in Uganda today. They are mostly found in the landscapes of Kidepo Valley, Murchison-Semliki, and the Greater Virunga Landscape with the more aggressive forest elephants predominantly in Kibale Forest, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the
Mount Ruwenzori National Park.