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Field guide trampled by elephant in Western Cape game reserve

36-year-old guide David Kandela at Gondwana Private Game Reserve was killed by an elephant this weekend, the Mossel Bay Advertiser reported on Monday.

Gondwana is located in the Herbertsdale area – inland from Mossel Bay off the N2.

According to a press release from the game reserve, the incident happened on Sunday, 10 March when “one of the reserve’s elephant herds was peacefully passing through the Gondwana Tented Eco Camp.”

“The herd, docile in nature, had nearly passed through the camp when David encountered the last elephant, just before the tragic event occurred,” the statement read.

Kandela joined Gondwana Game Reserve’s team of field guides on 8 December 2023. He had seamlessly integrated into the community and demonstrated a deep passion for his work, Gondwana noted.

The risks of working with wildlife

“There is an inherent risk in working closely with wild animals and the reality of such an incident, resulting in the loss of a colleague, is profoundly saddening.”

The statement from Godwana went on to say: “His untimely passing leaves a void within the Gondwana family, as David was not only a colleague but also a source of warmth and expertise among his peers.”

“Our hearts and thoughts remain with David’s family and friends during this immensely difficult time. Gondwana pledges to support all those affected by this tragic incident.”

The Southern Most Elephants

Godwana Game Reserve’s website describes the reserve’s elephants as the Southernmost located elephant herd in the world. They are also the first herd to have been re-established in a Fynbos and Renosterveld region.

“Our Conservation Department have been studying their habits and diet in this environment; both the elephant and Fynbos benefit from the grazing and foraging of this mega herbivore,” the reserve says.

“We are extremely proud to have the first wild elephants born in the Southern Cape in 200 years.”

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