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In Africa, anything can happen, but as they say in journalism that its news when a man bites dog, its bigger news when a man charges jumbo! Here is one more reason why you may want to stay off drinking sprees for a while yet. There was drama in South Africa’s Kruger National Park when a heavily intoxicated tourist charged at an elephant while his buddies cheered him on. The incident, which occurred in mid May 2013, has caused disquiet among wildlife conservationists who have termed the action as sheer aggression and cruelty towards wild animals.
In the video, the man is seen alighting from his car, charges towards an elephant that is a few meters away in the midst of cheers from his friends. A friend is heard shouting “run at him! Get him!” He stumbles and falls, further confusing the animal. When he gets back on his feet, the elephant retreats and runs to a nearby bush. He finally gets back to his car where they apparently continue their drinking spree.
Fighting to Reduce human-animal feuds
With several instances of animals attacking tourists-an elephant troubled by a toothache recently overturned a tourist’s car there-conservation authorities have drafted ways to minimize the feuds. For instance, tourists visiting the parks have been advised to give adequate space to elephants and avoid encroaching on their grazing areas. Other ways include avoiding getting too near to their young ones as well as drivers giving way to elephants to close roads first.
Embarrassing; the man in the video was a tour guide!
It was even more disappointing when it was later discovered that the man featured in the video now gone viral is indeed a tour guide, then off-duty, contracted by Singita Game Reserve. In a statement, the company condemned the action saying that the action acutely contravened its guiding ethics, social standing and the driving spirit of wildlife conservation. The company said that it has invested heavily and vehemently advocated for wildlife conservation to tolerate such behavior, especially emanating from within.
Guide sacked, others disciplined
The company has since summarily sacked the guide, identified as Brian Thomas Masters, while disciplinary actions are to be taken on his friends who were involved in the incident. This is aimed at discouraging similar actions from other tour guides or vising tourists in South Africa.
Right to respond
And responding to the castigation directed towards him by the public, the sacked guide on Facebook asked to be forgiven, expressing remorse for the action noting that “this has already cost me my job, reputation and crumbled all what I have built over 13 years. I had spent several nights in the cold fighting rhino poachers, and that is now easily forgotten.”