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Media Release: KNP unveils plaque for fallen hero

19 July 2005

Date: 2005-07-18

The Executive Director of the Kruger National Park, Dr Bandile Mkhize unveiled a plaque and renamed a Ranger Picket in memory of the late Lance Corporal Wilson Ndlovu in the Kruger National Park today (Monday July 18).

L/Cpl Ndlovu tragically passed away after being attacked and trampled by an elephant while he and his colleague Field Ranger Raymond Nkuna were busy with a routine patrol. The two field rangers were patrolling with bicycles near Shirombeni Ranger Picket in the Stoltznek region of the KNP (south of Pretoriuskop Rest Camp) on February 22, 2005 when the incident happened.

A plaque, with a brief description of the incident and a few words about L/Cpl Ndlovu in English and Tsonga, was unveiled on the exact spot in the presence of members of the Ndlovu family, representatives of the local communities including their traditional leaders and local government officials.

The nearby Shirombeni Ranger Picket, a small building used by rangers while they conduct patrols, was also renamed the Wilson Ndlovu Ranger Picket, in memory of this tragic incident that claimed his life.

“Lance Corporal Wilson Ndlovu was a man who never tired of his task as a field ranger in our beautiful Kruger National Park. He was proud of his uniform, the ranger corps and in his own achievements. Any brief look at him would show the observer that this was a man that knew his important role in conservation as a whole and here in the Stoltznek area in particular. He was a committed and loyal servant of that noble cause that we call conservation,” said Dr Mkhize.

The Kruger National Park has more than 200 field rangers, divided into 22 ranger sections that cover the entire area. Routine armed ranger patrols in vehicles, on bicycles and on foot, depart on a daily basis from ranger posts in order to safeguard the integrity of the park.

Brothers in conservation: A plaque remembering the actions and bravery of Lance Corporal Wilson Ndlovu was unveiled on the exact spot where he was tragically killed by an elephant earlier this year. From left are Philemon Mhlongu ( Wilson’s brother), Rob Thomson (Stoltznek Section Ranger) and Joseph Ndlovu ( Wilson’s other brother). Both Philemon and Joseph currently serve as field rangers in the Kruger National Park.

Conservation memories: While the plaque is unveiled by the Executive Director of the Kruger National Park, Dr Bandile Mkhize (right standing) and a representative of the Ndlovu family, Ameko Ndlovu (left standing), the plaque in his memory is read in English by KNP Section Ranger Rob Thomson (left, sitting) and in Tsonga by KNP People and Conservation representative Rhulani Mabasa (right sitting).

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