Saudi Arabian national killed in Murchison elephant attack

Jan 25, 2022

“We regret to inform the public that one person has been killed by an elephant in Murchison Falls National Park. The unfortunate incident happened today at around 11:00 am,” said Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in statement. 

Saudi Arabian national killed in Murchison elephant attack

Gerald Tenywa
Journalist @New Vision

Sayed Elshahany, a Saudi Arabian national has lost his life today morning after a nasty encounter with a herd of elephants in Murchison Falls National Park.  

“We regret to inform the public that one person has been killed by an elephant in Murchison Falls National Park. The unfortunate incident happened today at around 11:00 am,” said Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in statement. 

UWA stated that the deceased Ayman Sayed Elshahany a Saudi Arabian national, together with his three colleagues were traveling in a Toyota Wish Motor Vehicle No. UBJ917C from Masindi transiting through the park to Arua.  

“They stopped along the way and the deceased went out of car. An elephant charged at him killed him on the spot,” UWA stated. “We are saddened by this incident and we convey our deepest sympathies to the deceased’s family and friends.” 

The matter has been brought to the attention of the Police. “We have reported the matter to Pakwach Police and we will work closely with the police to ensure that this matter is investigated fully,” said UWA.  

UWA added, “The safety of people in our protected areas remains paramount to us. We, therefore, appeal to the public especially those transiting through protected areas to take precaution and avoid putting themselves in harm’s way. In the meantime, we are also reviewing our safety protocols to enhance them to avoid a repeat of such incidents.” 

They also assured intending visitors to the national parks that Uganda’s destinations remain safe. “We assure the public that our parks remain safe to all visitors,” said UWA.  
Details about the attack  

Asked about the circumstances surrounding the attack, the Chief Park Warden for Murchison Falls National Park, Edson Nuwamanya said Elshahany and his team were transiting through the park but made a stopover to relieve themselves. This was 15 kilometers before Tangi Gate, which is one of the entrances into the park near Pakwach. The distance between Paraa and Tangi gate is 30kms. 

“We understand that he was relieving himself when he encountered an elephant with a baby. He then decided to take photo opportunities,” he said, adding that this is when the elephant attacked and ended his life.  

Nuwamanya could not provide details saying UWA’s staff did not witness the attack and his colleagues were speaking in Arabic making communication difficult. “What you should know is that elephants and other animals even pussycats with young ones are hostile to any intrusion,” he told New Vision in an interview.      

Tips on keeping safe with elephants 

Elephants rarely attack human beings. They may attack if startled, threatened, or injured, or when protecting their calves, and may reach speeds of up to 40 km/h during a charge. 

Bull elephants also become extremely unpredictable and aggressive during mating season (serum testosterone levels or male hormones become markedly elevated). 

Many people believe that an elephant flaps its ears as a sign of aggression. This is simply not true. Flapping ears are used to cool the animal down 

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