Elephants that strayed off the Yankari Game Reserve and Safari into Bajama village in Bauchi state, have killed a 45-year-old man and a nine-year-old boy as villagers attempted to take pictures with the animals.
It was fun initially as the villagers gathered the elephants in a circle and began to take photos with excitement when suddenly the elephants turned wild and charged at the villagers.
The nine-year-old boy was trampled upon by one elephants and he died on the spot while the man was hit on the head by another elephant and he died later that day in the hospital due to serious injuries.
The management of Yankari Game Reserve and Safari confirmed the incident in a statement made available to newsmen in Bauchi on Thursday by the Sole Administrator of the Reserve, Habu Mamman.
Mamman said the incident took place on July 8, 2018 when elephants went out of the reserve through Sharam early in the morning and headed towards Bajama village.
According to him, “The elephants went to Gwartanbali forest where villagers living around there got excited and came in large numbers and put the elephants in a circle, taking pictures and trying to touch them.
“Tradegy struck when the elephants got charged and scattered the crowd and the villagers all ran for safety but as a result, they pushed down a nine-year-old boy, Fa’izu Chiroma Musa, who was trampled by one of the elephants and he died on the spot around 10am.”
Mamman added that the elephants proceeded to the forest but some villagers kept on following them.
Another villager, Haruna Abubakar, who was trying to get a close picture of the elephants was hit by one of the animals resulting in his death around 4pm.
“It took our rangers some hours to control the crowd who kept on following the elephants before they could chase the elephants back into the reserve.
“Normally the rangers are able to provide rapid intervention and chase the elephants back into the reserve when they go out, but this case was difficult because the villagers were very excited and wanted to go close and touch the elephants.
“They said it is their first time of seeing and coming in contact with elephants,” the sole administrator stated.
Mammon further pointed out that conflict between elephants and human was not uncommon around Yankari, adding that this was the first fatal case the reserve had recorded.
He said the Yankari Reserve management had visited the families of the deceased and “they said that they were ignorant that elephants can be dangerous and admitted that it was their fault for getting too close to the elephants.”