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Viral video of distressing attack on elephant not recent – from 18 months ago

Warning: The video discussed in this report is disturbing.

A video of a crowd attacking an elephant with machetes has been widely shared on social media in Kenya.

In the troubling video, a bloodied elephant is trying to stand but is cut down by the crowd.

“This is extremely inhumane! Somewhere in Meru. Viewer discretion advised!” one Facebook user posted.

“This is very wrong,” another user said in a Facebook group.

The video was first shared on 19 November 2019, suggesting the incident is recent. And the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), tasked with conserving and managing Kenya’s wildlife, is being blamed. Is this accurate?

Incident from 2018

On 19 November, KWS took to Facebook and Twitter to point out that the video was shot some time ago.

Its statement reads: “KWS investigations indicate that this is an old video that took place at Ncoorolboro-Imenti Forest in Meru on 21st June 2018… The incident was reported as a case of Human-Wildlife conflict to the station and KWS personnel were deployed immediately to the scene.”

The KWS statement explains that local residents had hacked an elephant to death, after two elephants had broken through an electric fence and “raided” a farm. But no one has been prosecuted for the attack on the elephant. 

‘Culprits being pursued’

According to KWS, the video has provided clues to what happened in 2018 and those involved can now be arrested.

“The video clip currently being circulated was not availed at that time, hence follow-up was not conclusive. However, now that KWS is in possession of the video, the culprits will be pursued and arrested with help from local authorities,” KWS said. – Dancan Bwire 


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