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Herd Of Elephants Tramples And Kills Suspected Poacher In South Africa

Ryan Ford

While it's been a slog for the vast majority of us, the past year hasn't been bad news on the animal poaching front.

Indeed, Kenya celebrated a milestone year without having lost a single rhino to poachers, for the first time in 21 years.

Judging by the news out of South Africa, it's already been a bad year to be a poacher, too.

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Kruger National Park, one of South Africa's largest game reserves, reported that a suspected poacher fleeing from the park's rangers was trampled and killed by a herd of breeding elephants.

That suspected poacher was one of a group of three that fled when they realized rangers had spotted them, according to a press release.

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Rangers gave the suspects chase with aerial support as well as help from a K9 unit.

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Before fleeing, the suspects dropped supplies including an axe and a rifle, which led authorities to believe they were attempting to poach rhinos in the park.

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The rangers did manage to apprehend one of the suspects.

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At the time, he wasn't sure if his accomplices had survived the surprise encounter with the elephant herd. However, rangers later confirmed that the deceased had been "badly trampled and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries."

A third suspect is believed to have suffered an eye injury, but has so far managed to evade capture.

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KNP's officials are counting this as an anti-poaching victory.

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Even with one suspect remaining at-large, KNP's managing executive, Gareth Coleman, said, "We are proud of the teamwork and dedication of our Rangers Corp, our aviators and the K9 unit. It is unfortunate that a life was unnecessarily lost. Only through discipline, teamwork and tenacity will we be able to help stem the tide of rhino poaching in KNP."

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Coleman also called upon the local community to help locate the remaining suspect.

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"The campaign against poaching is the responsibility of all us; it threatens many livelihoods, destroys families and takes much-needed resources to fight crime which could be used for creating jobs and development," he said.

h/t: Kruger National Park

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