Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A 50-year-old man who was employed as an elephant handler by a tour operator in Victoria Falls, was on Saturday trampled to death by one of the elephants.
Tour operators in the resort town said the “freak accident” was a one in a million occurrence as domesticated elephants were not known to kill people.
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers shot and killed the elephant.
The bull jumbo was called Mbanje and was used for elephant rides by Adventure Zone, one of the tour operators in Victoria Falls.
Police confirmed the death of Mr Enock Kufandada of Mkhosana suburb, who was attacked by the domesticated elephant as he prepared to pen it in a bush near his workplace after 2PM.
“I can confirm that we received a report of a man who was attacked by a domesticated elephant,” said police officer commanding Victoria Falls District Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona.
He said Mr Kufandada had gone to round up Mbanje which had been released for grazing with a female jumbo called Nkanyezi after a ride.
The elephants used for rides are usually christened with human names and when barking instructions, handlers call out their names.
The Chronicle visited Mr Kufandada’s home and spoke to his son Shepherd who said his father’s death had come as a great shock.
“We were told that he was with workmates rounding up the elephants when he was attacked,” said Shepherd.
He said yesterday he went with his late father’s workmates to the scene and helped pick up some body parts that were scattered all over the place.
Shepherd said he and his mother Nyasha Manjazi as well as his five-year-old sibling had lost a breadwinner.
“We don’t even know what we are going to do. I am at school and he was the only breadwinner,” he said.
Adventure Zone proprietor Mr Brent Williamson said the company received the sad news with deep shock.
“I am in complete shock about the whole incident. It’s with deep regret that we advise everyone that at 2.30pm on Saturday our domesticated elephant bull (Mbanje) charged at one of our staff members and this resulted in our guide losing his life.
“This was one of our learner guides who had been employed with us since July 2005 and was an extremely competent staff member who will sincerely be missed,” said Mr Williamson.
He said investigations were being carried out to establish what transpired.
Mr Kufandada will be buried at his rural home in Mutare.—@ncubeleon.