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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Drunk safari guide fired after elephant charge

by Peter Needham

A Safari guide, apparently under the influence of alcohol, has been fired by a game lodge for running at full tilt towards a bull elephant in a South African game park and evidently frightening the animal.

A video of the incident was posted on YouTube under the heading “Drunk Man Charges a Wild Elephant”. At last check it had generated almost a million hits. It can be viewed here below, but (as the saying goes) “do not try this at home”:

The video shows the elephant standing its ground, ears flapping, as the guide races at it. At one point the guide falls sprawling into the long grass only meters away from the agitated animal.

Friends (possibly other guides, one of whom appears to be holding a beer bottle) whoop and cheer in encouragement, making comments like: “Run at him!”

Finally, the elephant turns tail and runs off.

Britain’s Daily Express newspaper quoted the Singita safari lodge company, which employed the guide, describing the video as “disturbing”.

A company statement added: “The guide involved in the confrontation is no longer employed by Singita and further disciplinary procedures are in progress with regard to others involved.”

Later, on Facebook, the highly remorseful guide confessed to being the one shown, and apologised deeply.

He wrote: “This has already cost me my reputation and job and has undone all the work I have done in the fields of ground hornbill and elephant research over the last 13 years.

“The fact that for the months leading up to and after this incident many nights were spent sitting out in the bush after a full day’s work trying to do our part in slowing this terrible tide of rhino poaching gets very quickly forgotten.”

The guide accepted full responsibility and asked readers not to blame the company that had employed him.

He asked for forgiveness and his final comment is worthy of some thought. “Look carefully at yourself and ask if there was anything you have done in the past that, had it been caught on camera, could have had negative consequences.”
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