South African wildlife ranger tragically killed by aggressive hippo

Durban, South Africa - A hippopotamus attacked and killed a wildlife ranger at the Mkhuze Game Reserve in South Africa. The young ranger was on patrol when the animal charged.

A young wildlife ranger was killed by an aggressive hippopotamus (stock image.)
A young wildlife ranger was killed by an aggressive hippopotamus (stock image.)  © 123rf/smspsy

Experienced bush ranger Siphamandla Mthembu was reportedly on patrol with three other park rangers last Sunday in Mkhuze Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa when tragedy struck.

The four rangers were working to protect a herd of elephants from poachers after they found some suspicious footprints.

According to the KZN Wildlife Communications Manager Musa Mntambo, "During their patrol, they decided to divide into two groups and go in opposite directions" to look for the poachers.

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After a few moments, the rangers heard gunshots coming from Mthembu's direction.

When they ran towards the sound, they saw a hippopotamus attacking the ranger!

Wasting no time, the group jumped into action in hopes of saving their comrade.

Help comes too late for young wildlife ranger

Park ranger Siphamandla Mthembu (pictured) was killed by a hippo while on patrol.
Park ranger Siphamandla Mthembu (pictured) was killed by a hippo while on patrol.  © Collage: Screenshots/Facebook/siphamandla.phiwayinkosi.3

The other rangers shot and killed the hippo that had their coworker in its jaws, but it was already too late.

Siphamandla Mthembu died shortly after the attack.

Per the Daily Mail, the experienced park ranger had at least nine dire bite wounds from the hippo.

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"My heart broke when I heard of the incident," executive officer of Mkhuze Reserve Shie Mkhize said.

"Finding the words to speak to his family was so difficult."

Siphamandla Mthembu is survived by his wife and child.

Cover photo: 123rf/smspsy

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