ZIMBABWE – A 74-year-old villager from Mabale in Zimbabwe escaped death by the skin of his teeth after he was attacked by an adult elephant weighing 6 tonnes which fractured his right leg.

Hlanganani Dube of Simukululwe Village under Chief Dingani-Nelukoba was attacked at 2 PM while herding cattle on 5 May in a nearby bush.

He dragged himself on his buttocks for eight hours until he reached the main road where he got help at around 10 PM.

Dube said he could neither rise on his feet nor crawl because of the pain on the fractured leg and started pushing himself on his buttocks while using his arms for balance until he reached the Bulawayo-Hwange main road where he flagged down passing cars.

He said there were a number of times that he almost gave up but the thought of his family that would be left with no one to care for them kept him going.

Dube used a torch from a phone to wave down vehicles and after several tries, Hwange Safari Lodge general manager Taylor Cameron stopped and rescued him.

A professional hunter, Thabani Tshuma, said Dube was lucky to survive the elephant attack and was even luckier to still be alive after being in the forest for eight hours while bleeding. He said:

Wild animals can pick up the scent of blood from a long distance and instinctively close in on any being that is injured.

It is a miracle they did not attack him when he was in the bush for that long, in that state.

Dube is still admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo where he only underwent surgery last Thursday, over three weeks after his admission.

Hwange Rural District Council (HRDC) is taking care of his medical expenses while Mbalabala Safaris and Hwange Safari Lodge have also been assisting.

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