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When Animals Attacked, and Humans Survived…

Paul Templer

After serving in the British Army for years and travelling the globe in pursuit of adventure and excitement, Paul Templer decided to make his native Zimbabwe his permanent home, where he became a river guide. When he was out on a routine tour, Templer was guiding a group of tourists down the Zambezi River when he experienced a sudden attack from a bull hippopotamus – one of Africa’s deadliest animals. The hippo came close to turning one of the canoes over completely, tossing another guide into the dangerous waters. Templer dove in quickly to save his workmate, but the enormous hippo suddenly leaped up between them, swallowing Templer’s entire head while at the same time pinning his arms at his side with its razor sharp teeth. The hippo swam off with him beneath the water, and temporarily confused, all Templer could think was ‘Wow, its dark in here’. The hippo then continued to attack Templer several more times, tearing open his foot, severing his arm, cracking ribs, and ripping holes in both his back and chest. After a lengthy 7 hour operation, which involved amputation of the severed limb, Templer began his long recovery. However, this incident has not deterred him from doing what he loves. Templer still leads safari tours and is now a coach, public speaker, and main fundraiser for the children’s charity ‘Make-a-Difference’.


Paul Templer (Image)

Michael Fay

As an internationally acclaimed explorer who once spent 455 days trekking through East Africa, Michael Fay had become somewhat used to being charged at by elephants. However, in 2003 he and his companions were attacked by a female elephant protecting her young in the Loango National Park in Gabon, resulting in Fay being gored by her massive tusks. Fay survived the attack and had this to say regarding the incident: “You mess with elephants all the time and you get close to them, eventually one of them is going to go for the Full Monty. I just thank God that I had time to turn around, grab those tusks and ride that bronco as long as I could.”

Diana Tilden-Davis

Winner of Miss South Africa 1991, and a former finalist in the Miss World competition, Diana Tilden-Davis was canoe-paddling through the Okavango Delta in Botswana when she was attacked by a hippo that came close to chomping her leg off. Her husband, who assisted Tilden-Davis with operating a safari company in the region, hippos were showing aggressive behavior at that time due to the region being hit by an extreme drought, meaning food was hard to come by. Tilden-Davis narrowly managed to escape with her life, but still had to use crutches for up to two years after the incident.

Andrew Oberle

Andrew Oberle was studying the behaviour of chimps at the Goodall Institute in South Africa when he bypassed two safety fences in order to get close enough to the chimps themselves, prompting them to attack. Though it was through fault of his own, Oberle was left fighting for his life after having been bitten and dragged for almost a kilometer. His parents requested that the hospital not divulge the extent of their son’s injuries but it has since been leaked that Oberle lost his fingers and toes, and his arms were exposed to the bone.


Andrew Oberle (Image)

Lauren Fagen

At 18 years of age, Lauren Fagen (of Montreal) was volunteering at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa. Upon her arrival she expressed that she wanted to hug one of the animals the sanctuary housed, and was explicitly told that she should not try to do so. Going against the advice of experts, Fagen was busy feeding one of the lions (Duma – a five year old), she reportedly tried to lean in for a kiss from the huge cat. That was when Duma reached out his right paw and grabbed onto Fagen’s leg and attempted to drag her into the cage, with another lion then joining in on the action. One of the lions bit into her leg and narrowly missed an artery, but both were eventually warded off by a nurse with a broom. Fagen was soon rushed to a medi-clinic in Nelspruit, where multiple bites to her leg and lower body were treated.

Wayne Williamson

Zimbabwean Wayne Williamson was contract-hunting in northwest Mozambique, near Lake Cobora Bassa, when he suffered a leopard attack. The night previous to the attack, a French professional hunter and his client had injured a leopard that Williamson then went to follow up on. The attack happened swiftly. The leopard quickly approached a crouched Williamson and hooked him on the right side of his head, pulling his head into its mouth. Williamson managed to get his hand and arm inside of its mouth to pull away, and somehow was able to throw the leopard off of himself, after which it was shot by the French hunter. Williamson wrapped up his own head and organised for the other to fetch a vehicle whilst he began walking back on his own. He was eventually picked up, driven back to camp, put onto a boat, and flown to Bulawayo for treatment. The incident caused Williamson to sustain serious lacerations to his scalp, left hand, and arm, but he has since recovered.

Evan van der Spuy

Evan van der Spuy, a mountain biker on team Jeep South Africa, was taking part in a race at Albert Falls Dam in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, when he was suddenly hit by an antelope galloping at full speed. His teammate behind him was wearing a helmet camera to record the event, and warned van der Spuy to ‘watch the buck!’ But with little time to react, the Red Hartebeest slammed into the biker, and continued to run off into the wilderness. Luckily van der Spuy managed to walk away with no severe injuries, but had he not been wearing a helmet, the damage would have been significantly worse. Due to his teammate’s recording of the incident, the viral video of this shocking occurrence can be seen here:

Watch this video of a buck who takes out a biker!

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About Bronwyn Paxton

Article by: Bronwyn Paxton
on May 15, 2014
Filed under  Africa Blog • Only in Africa 
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