Rangers Seek Killer Baffalo

Buffalo that killed visitor still not found
Guy Rogers

RANGERS in Cradock’s Mountain Zebra National Park are still looking for the buffalo that killed Somerset West visitor Johann Schmidt, 64, last week.

In the July 12 shock incident, Schmidt and three companions had just set off on the short Imbila Trail next to the camp when they were attacked by the buffalo. Schmidt died on the trail.

His wife, Marie, and their friends, Sam and Marianne Sieberhagen, were injured and rushed to hospital first in Cradock and then Port Elizabeth. A St George’s Hospital spokesman said yesterday they had now all been discharged.

There is still no clarity on why the attack occurred. Schmidt’s family said the walkers had not even seen the buffalo until it attacked.

Rangers lost the animal’s spoor on the rocky ground and have since just been keeping a close watch on the attack area in case it returns there. The culprit was probably a lone bull that had been injured or was sick and it would therefore probably display strange behaviour, SANParks spokesman Megan Taplin explained.

Many Herald readers have questioned SANParks’s approach that the buffalo would be shot.

SANParks reiterated that the bull would be put down if a definite identification was made. “It has killed a person and so presents a danger to visitors and staff ... particularly as this happened so close to the rest camp.”

All the park’s walking trails have meanwhile been closed to allow SANParks to reconsider its management. The likelihood is they will remain open but walkers would have to have an armed guide.

1 comment:

  1. It is fair to read a report from the Helderberg Basin News on a very unfortunate event that happened affecting beloved residents. What is required from SanParks is to swiftly conduct an inquiry as to the condition of the buffalo that attacted the 4 paying guests to the park and make the findings public.
    SanParks may not be allowed to manage a park facility so badly, offer a hiking opportunity to the paying public, in an unsafe camp where the administration has had previous attacks by dangerous buffaloes and not accept any responsibility of bad management.
    If the rangers care to allow unguided hiking in a camp where dangerous animals are allowed to roam freely, SanParks must at least do everything in their power to be able to trace and examine the affected buffalo and rectify the problem.
    Could SanParks please inform the nature-loving public on details of how the buffalo population roaming the advertised trials are managed in order that we may continue to support the wonderful conservation facilities that the Mountain Zebra National Park can offer.


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