Animal Attacks Archive

Culling & Killing

Hunting and culling are acceptable in certain cases to protect the lives and livelihoods of people. In Africa this is a complex and difficult topic. In my series on hunting this week I argue that hunting is no longer a good conservation tool and that in most cases should be outlawed. But there are reasons [...]

Don’t Walk on Safari

As my clients well know, I don’t approve of walking safaris anywhere in East Africa, today. Tuesday morning another tourist was killed by an elephant near Tarangire National Park. Thomas McAfee of San Diego was on a guided walking safari arranged by Tarangire River Camp where he was lodging. The details are not complete, but [...]

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Maul Special

Pretty story but not very effective: recruit Maasai morani – the legendary warriors that are expert lion killers – to protect lions. Sort of like hiring the ultimate teenage hacker to protect HSBC. Lion numbers are dropping alarmingly, and better than any other great African savannah animal lion are a true indicator of the health [...]

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Wild Animals Aren’t Nice Anymore

Pepper spray, moats, blow horns, flashing lights … nothing seems to work. People around the world are getting fed up with wildlife. And it’s becoming frighteningly unclear if the benefits of tourism are greater than the disadvantages that local communities now believe they must bear to support that tourism. And which is more important: agriculture [...]

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Animals are Not People

Time and again men and women unable to foster human relationships create them with animals whose only ability to resist is to kill them in return. I love animals and always have. I expect someone watching me play with my lab/hound mix would ascribe all sorts of human characteristics to the relationship, and undoubtedly while [...]

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Ele Kills Zimbabwe Guide

Last week a bull elephant killed an employee within a hundred meters of a popular Victoria Falls hotel, further proof that Zimbabwe is not a safe place to travel. There have been about a dozen tourists killed by elephant every year in Africa since tourism began in the 1960s, and reporting a single incident is [...]

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Buggiest Place in the Universe!

I have been in some of the most uncomfortable, dastardly places on earth. But I just returned from the buggiest place in the universe. Try to guess where this unbelievable, inhumane place is. Of of the four top worst buggiest places I’ve ever been in, none are in eastern or southern Africa where I spend [...]

Don’t Visit Zimbabwe

Contrary to very strange suggestions I’m reading in the travel press, it’s still too dangerous to safari in Zimbabwe. Tourists are being murdered. And not by political thugs, either. Zimbabwe’s economy is recovering from a hole some of us feared would spew forth the lava from the center of the earth. And the opposition democrat [...]

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California Wildlife Management

Wednesday early morning police (it took three of them) shot (multiple times) and killed a mountain lion found in a residential area of Berkeley, California. A 90-pound mountain lion (also known as a cougar) is roughly the same size as a cheetah, although stronger. The cheetah is built for speed whereas the cougar is built [...]

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The Crocodile Attack Alarm

This weekend officials on Kenya’s coast warned of increasing crocodile attacks on local residents. Nonsense. If the reports of increased lion and crocodile attacks in Kenya are true, why are they not true in neighboring Uganda and Tanzania? Do those animals not have visas? Like the incorrectly reported increase in lion attacks made last week [...]

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Lions going extinct? Or Maasai?

Richard Leakey’s excellent wildlife consortium, Wildlife Direct, said today that “Kenya’s lions are on the brink of extinction.” Exaggeration or real warning? Probably both. The organization’s warning followed an incident in late April where three lions were poisoned in Lemek, a private wildlife conservancy north of Kenya’s famed Maasai Mara game reserve. Wildlife officials arrested [...]

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Is CITES a Rich Man’s Treaty?

The southern African countries are meeting today in Malawi to decide whether to withdraw from the CITES convention. They almost convinced me to support them, and then, they blew it. The withdrawal from CITES (Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species) by part of the world where half the elephants live would throw the treaty [...]

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Elephant Attack

Yesterday an American woman and her infant were killed by an elephant as they walked out of the Castle Forest Lodge near Mt. Kenya. The name of the woman has not yet been released, but Kenyan authorities said she was the 39-year old wife of a teacher at Nairobi’s International School. The age of the [...]

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Hyaena Attack

We love animals to death. The reverse is also true. I have a multitude of reasons why we as conservationists and animal lovers must put at the top of our priorities a constant vigilance against anthropomorphizing. If we start to think of the marvelous diversity of life as being just like us, then we lose [...]

Elephant Suit

There is no question that it is becoming more dangerous for tourists interacting with elephants. But is the $850,000 award to an injured tourist in Kenya the right response? Last November a Kenyan court awarded Wendy Martin, the wife of a British diplomat at the time serving in Kenya, 65 million Kenyan shillings in compensation [...]