William Mabasa, spokesman for the Kruger National Park in South Africa says visitor safety remains paramount and the park has no regrets over killing an elephant that attacked two tourists, despite dramatic footage that has surfaced - showing they took unnecessary risks.
"The video seems to suggest that there was an opportunity for the tourists to have escaped the attack, but of course when you are directly involved in a situation like that, reason is no longer a factor but instinct and I think this was the case here," Mabasa said. "We have no regrets, the animal would have been put down irrespective as it was unusually aggressive. Our rangers reported that the same elephant bull had been involved in previous fights with other dominant bulls since it has been in musth phase."
The person who filmed the footage and asked to remain anonymous, explained that they had been following the elephant, driving behind the blue VW used by the two tourists identified as British school teacher Sarah Brooks and her partner Jans de Klerk. It soon became clear to the person filming that the elephant was getting agitated and they decided to fall back and keep at a safe distance. Warning signs given by elephants when it is feeling threatened include flapping of the ears or a mock charge, where the ears are fully spread with its head down.
In the video the elephant can be seen and heard doing both but at no point does the blue VW attempt to back away slowly. Instead it can be seen driving on and getting even closer to the elephant. From the footage it appears they may have been trying to pass the elephant instead. The man who filmed the footage admitted he wanted to warn Brooks and de Klerk that they were getting too close but said he could not risk putting anybody in danger or even hooting in case it further aggravated the elephant.