BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
A Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) senior official was trampled to death by an elephant on Friday morning during patrols in a severe blow to the non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. Lovemore Ndlovu, who was among the first person to react to the incident, said the VFAPU official whose identity cannot be revealed yet for ethical reasons was trampled to death by the stray elephant near the Bonnaise Air bush owned by the Victoria Falls City Council. “When the tragic incident happened around 8AM, he and his other three colleagues were conducting a patrol at some bushy area belonging to council,” Ndlovu said. “When we attended the scene shortly after the incident we were told by one of the rangers that before starting the patrol they had divided themselves into two groups and he was with the deceased when they spotted an elephant at a distance of approximately 300 meters. “He said he still doesn’t know how it suddenly reached to them as it immediately started to attack his colleague by stomping on his head, arms and legs.” Ndlovu said the official was pronounced dead at the scene by an Ace Ambulance Services crew. “When they came, we were told that he had already died and that’s when they had to call in police and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) who immediately took his body to a mortuary,” he said. VFAPU said they were not ready to give more details about the tragic incident as they were still trying to contact the deceased’s next of kin. Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda said he was not aware of the incident when contacted for comment.Ndlovu said police, rangers and other partners were searching for the stray elephant. Helicopters were deployed around the resort city to search for the problem animal.