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African Elephant Tramples Hunter On World Elephant Day

| by Selena Darlim

An Argentinian man was killed instantly after being trampled by an elephant on Aug. 12, a day designated as "World Elephant Day."

The victim, Jose Monzalvez, 46, worked at an oil company and had a legal hunting license.  The Daily Mail identified him as an executive-level employee. 

According to Journal du Cameroun, Monzalvez had been tracking a herd of elephants along with three Namibians and one other Argentine in a private farm in the Kalkfeld district of Namibia's Otjozondjupa region.  

Maureen Mbeha, a spokesperson for the regional police, said the men were professional big-game trophy hunters and had been on a hunting mission to kill an elephant in the farm, Journal du Cameroun reports.  

One of the elephants in the farm took notice of Monzalvez and began charging toward him.  The hunters did not have time to shoot before he was trampled.
 

Local officials said Monzalvez's family has been notified of the situation and that an inquest docket regarding the trampling has been filed at the Kalkfeld Police Station. 

This is not the first time that a professional game hunter has been killed by an elephant this year.  On May 21, The Independent reported that South-African hunter Thomas Botha was killed after running into a group of elephants in Zimbabwe, some of which were pregnant. 

Three of the elephants charged at Botha while a fourth lifted him with her trunk.  A member of Botha's group shot and killed the elephant that was holding him, causing her to collapse and crush the father of five.

In a separate series of occurrences this year, an elephant in India killed 15 people before being shot by a professional hunter on Aug. 11, the eve of World Elephant Day, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.  
 
The South Asian elephant began its rampage in March, when it killed four individuals.  The elephant reportedly later crossed into another Indian territory and killed 11 more. 

It is unknown exactly what caused the elephant to trample 15 people.  AFP reports that it was believed to have been a solo elephant separated from its herd.

L.R. Singh, chief forest and wildlife conservator of the Jharkhand region of India, said the decision was made to kill the elephant after a week-long effort to tranquilize it had failed.

A group of about 100 villagers and forest officials were involved in the death hunt, but only professional hunter Nawab Shafat Ali Khan was permitted to shoot the animal.

"It was quite a difficult operation because of the thick bushes and since the animal had turned rogue it charged at us before I pulled the trigger," said Khan, who has done 24 hunting missions for the government.

"I prefer tranquilizing animals," Khan later said. "But if it doesn’t happen, killing is the last resort."

According to AFP, experts predict that people will have more hostile confrontations with elephants as their habitat is torn down for human activities.

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