Elephant tramples prominent Kenya rancher to death

NAIROBI (AFP) - The director of one of Kenya's best-known ranches was trampled to death by an elephant on Wednesday (Dec 27), wildlife authorities said.

The victim, Mr Gilfred Powys, was a director at the 43,000 acre Suyian Ranch in central Laikipia. His family moved from Britain to Kenya in 1914, according to the ranch website.

"He is dead after being attacked by an elephant," said Kenya Wildlife Services official Richard Chepkwony.

A senior police officer said Mr Powys was trampled while trying to scare away elephants that were destroying a dam wall.

"We are informed that is when one of them attacked him and killed him on the spot. It is very unfortunate," the police source said on condition of anonymity.

Private ranches used for wildlife conservation and cattle farming take up large swathes of land in Laikipia, with many of them owned by foreigners.

For much of this year the region was plagued by attacks in which thousands of herders - some armed with spears and automatic weapons - illegally entered private ranches and reserves in search of pastures for their cows, sheep and goats.

A similar tragedy took place in Thailand last Thursday (Dec 21), when a 35-year-old Chinese tour guide was trampled to death by an elephant after he tried to save his tour group from the animal at an elephant camp near Pattaya on Thailand's eastern gulf coast.