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The lure and peril of southern Africa's elephants
LA Times ^ | 11/6/2009 | Robyn Dixon

Posted on 11/06/2009 7:14:55 PM PST by Saije

Here's how to pitch this (true) story to Hollywood: Ordinary guy named John, ordinary Sunday, cycling home into a setting sun. Monster roars out of the bushes!

John abandons his bike, flees in terror. The creature smashes the bicycle, catches him in a few short strides, grabs him by the shirt. But he slides out of his shirt and falls to the ground.

It picks him up again and he slips out of his trousers. Naked, too afraid to even to scream, he scrambles away. But he doesn't get far. The shrieking monster smashes him against a tree.

Camera pans to an old lady approaching, unaware of the danger.

Within minutes she'll be lying on the path, crushed.

The Hollywood twist? These people live in a bizarre universe where the rampaging monsters (and there are thousands of them) are protected and the people are not.

Cut to the killer creatures grazing peacefully (cue close-up of gentle, intelligent eyes with three-inch lashes) along with their unbearably cute offspring.

Of course, to sell it, you'd need to change a few details: Lose the African villagers; make them suburban Americans. And the monster couldn't be that beloved giant, the elephant. Who would believe it?

The name of the dead man was John Muyengo, a 25-year-old from a village called Katubya in southern Zambia. The woman was Mukiti Ndopu, highly respected in the village, the wife of the chief.

A neighbor, Muyenga Katiba, 44, saw the elephant charge the young man on that April day. He gathered his wife and children, and they cowered inside his hut.

"The boy didn't even scream," Katiba said of Muygeno. "He just died quietly."

Deaths like these are increasing in southern Zambia and northern Botswana, where people are crammed in with a rising elephant population.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Pets/Animals; Travel
KEYWORDS: africa; elephants
I feel bad for these people (although later in the article some solutions to the problem are discussed so not sure why they aren't implemented). I only have to worry about running into a stray dog in my neighborhood.
1 posted on 11/06/2009 7:15:01 PM PST by Saije
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To: Saije
Someday the United Nations will issue it's own General Order No. 11 purging most of the land area of every continent on earth of human beings.

We're bad for biodiversity, you know.

2 posted on 11/06/2009 7:26:03 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Ask not what the Kennedys can do for you, but what you can do for the Kennedys.)
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To: Saije
The woman was Mukiti Ndopu, highly respected in the village, the wife of the chief.

The twist on this would be that the chief got the pacaderm drunk and talked him into taking out the old lady.

3 posted on 11/06/2009 9:03:06 PM PST by guitarplayer1953 (Romak 7.62X54MM, AK47 7.62X39MM, LARGO 9X23MM, HAPINESS IS A WARM GUN BANG BANG YEA YEA)
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