Harare – A young elephant bull stuck in mud up to his head for up to four days on the shores of Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba has had to be euthanised, an animal welfare group announced.
Workers from the nearby Gache Gache Lodge and state rangers worked together to try to free the bull, described as sub-adult.
“He was eventually pulled out and could not stand; could not get up by himself,” said the Kariba Animal Welfare Trust on Monday, quoting Roy Townsend of Gache Gache Lodge.
“After an extremely long wait for this boy to get up, bearing in mind that an adult or sub-adult elephant cannot be left down for too long, the decision was made by Parks and Wildlife to euthanise him,” the trust said in a statement.
Heartbreaking photos of the attempted rescue of the elephant have been shared on Gache Gache’s Facebook page.
Melissa Mackenzie wrote: “Although not a happy ending, it was still nice to see a group of people give up their time and come together to give an animal a second chance at life. They couldn’t have tried harder.”
This has been a difficult few days for wildlife workers in Zimbabwe.
A 15-month-old elephant injured in a hit-and-run traffic accident near Kariba died on the operating table at the weekend after it had been transported to Harare, the AWARE Trust reported.
“Kariba Baby”, as he had been nicknamed, had an infected fracture wound. Three hours into an operation “his little body gave up”, said the trust, which is run by Zimbabwean veterinarians.
Last week, a black rhino at the popular Imire wildlife sanctuary in Wedza, about 150km from Harare, killed ranger Tafadzwa Gosho. This was the first death of a rhino scout at Imire in the 20 years it has run its rhino breeding programme.