Shenton Safaris

Domesticated elephant shot after trampling handler

Elephant and handler in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Dojiwe, the domesticated orphan elephant, with unknown handler © Jennie L., TripAdvisor Traveller

Sourced from third-party site: News Day, written by Nokuthaba Dlamini

A Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, animal handler is battling for his life at Mpilo Central Hospital after a domesticated elephant trampled and gored him several times. The orphaned elephant, popular with tourists who loved to interact with her, was subsequently shot and killed by rangers.

News Day:

The incident happened on Wednesday morning at Dimbangombe Safari Lodge 32km from Victoria Falls town. The elephant, called Dojiwe, was shot and killed by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers after the attack. A witness and co-worker said the elephant turned against James Tshuma and their manager, as they were chasing it away from a maize patch in the garden.

“After opening the paddock, Dojiwe went to the garden instead of going to graze. Our manager [Hazel] Palmer, together with Tshuma, then led her out and she complied. As they were leading her out, she hit Palmer with her trunk and that is when Tshuma tried to reprimand her, but she immediately turned on him,” Stephen Tshuma said.

“It lifted him up before throwing him to the ground and trampling on his feet and goring him all over his body. He was badly injured.

“It then left him after noticing the feeding cubes that he had dropped scattered all over and that’s when we took him to hospital and he was transferred to Bulawayo.”

Dojiwe, the elephant, was popularly known for her adventurous and friendly behaviour towards tourists, who would visit the site to marvel at her kneeling down and kicking the ball, among other tricks. Tshuma said it was their first time to witness such behaviour since her adoption.

Last year, another domesticated elephant called Mbanje from Adventure Zone was shot after trampling its handler to death.

Animal rights activists condemn elephants capture and rides, arguing that the practice is cruel and should be banned.

Elephant and guest in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Dojiwe, the domesticated orphan elephant © Dimbangombe Safari Lodge management, via TripAdvisor

Editor’s note: Those that raised the orphaned elephant, Dojiwe, provide their account of what happened between the elephant and the handler in this article.

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  • Esme’ Blair

    The time has come particularly in these so called domesticated elephant tourist attractions to realise, an elephant kicking a ball for a tourist gratification or photo will lead to tragedy. The stupidity that exists when there is so much scientific knowledge out there on elephants is beyond belief. These animals ARE NOT FOR ENTERTAINMENT.

    • Avril Craye

      Agree wholeheartedly – where money-making is concerned they do not want to listen.

  • Marlene Amry

    Perhaps the “training” of young elephants, for them to develop abilities, imitating humans, causes stress that builds up in them, and later comes out with each daily command, like having to obey, and so forth. In humans one calls it “resentment”.

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