Rhino Attacks Kruger Park Tourists

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa, October 10, 2001 (ENS) - The Kruger National Park does not plan to end its wilderness walking tours in the bush after seven tourists narrowly escaped being hurt by an angry rhino on Sunday.

Kruger National Park director David Mabunda told Africa Eye News Service Tuesday that the attack on the hiking tourists was "normal."

"The fact that the rhino could be shot shows that our rangers are trained to deal with these situations," Mabunda explained.

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Bull rhino in Kruger National Park (Photo courtesy Webshots.com)
The tourists from car rental companies were on the Harry Wolhuter trail near the Berg en Dal camp in the southwestern part of the park when a rhino bull charged at them. The group had just seen peaceful rhino mothers and their calves when the bull, which was about 400 meters away, suddenly charged at them.

Two rangers quickly moved the tourists behind a tree and tried to chase off the animal, but when it continued to charge, one ranger had to shoot it. A routine board of inquiry into the death of the rhino has found out that the rangers had no choice but to shoot the animal to save the tourists.

This is the second rhino attack on tourists walking on a trail in the past three years. In 1999 a white rhino was fatally shot by park rangers after charging tourists on the same trail.

The wilderness walking tours were pioneered by the Wilderness Leadership School about 30 years ago, and the Kruger Park has been offering them for over 20 years.