Sex-crazed elephant put down after killing top safari ranger

Mark Lautenbach, 33, was an expert guide and professional photographer.

A top safari ranger was trampled to death by a sexually-charged bull elephant that had broken into a game park lodge during its rampage.

Mark Lautenbach, 33, had tried to move the angry elephant which was in full musth away from the tourist area.

But the hormonal six-ton elephant charged the expert guide and professional wildlife photographer.

Brave Mark, from Hout Bay, South Africa, suffered “extensive injuries” and could not be saved, and the rogue elephant was put down.

His partner Nadia, a manager of the game lodge and a fellow guide, is said to be "inconsolable" with grief following his tragic death.

When bull elephants are in musth they have up to ten times as much testosterone as normal raging through their body.

Mark snuggles up with a lion taking a snooze.

Desbo Mohono, Member of the Executive Council for Environment and Agricultural Development, said that Mark was one of the most respected game rangers in South Africa.

She said: “His death by an elephant is a great loss to the South African wildlife sector as Mark was a highly committed and highly trained ranger with years of experience.

“We pray that his family may find peace and comfort at this time of bereavement."

A local expert, who asked not to be named, said: “When a bull elephant is in musth it becomes extremely dangerous and is sending out messages to the females he is ready to mate.

“It is also sending out a powerful message to all the rival males that he is not in the mood to be messed with. This hormonal change can last several weeks or even several months.

“This elephant was an older bull and very big and had broken down a fence at Leopard Rock and had got into the lodging areas and was potentially a very big danger to all.

“Mark is an expert and has had many encounters with bull elephants but something went terribly wrong here and the staff say nothing could be done once the elephant had him.

“He was one of the top five game rangers in South Africa and his services as a professional wildlife photographer were highly sought after and his loss in our community is huge."

Mark had experience of being around elephants and other animals.

Would you like to get published on Standard Media websites? You can now email us breaking news, story ideas, human interest articles or interesting videos on: [email protected]