Sometimes I am ashamed to be South African – we have such a beautiful country and such beautiful animals which we should preserve and treat with dignity and respect. And yet there are game rangers who get drunk and act like this:
The man in question (who I am, indeed, going to name and shame on behalf of elephants everywhere who don’t have Facebook) Brian Thomas Masters has issued the following statement on Facebook:
As a result of the recent spread of video content portraying a game ranger confronting a wild elephant I would like to acknowledge that I am responsible for the incident and sincerely regret my harmful and dangerous behaviour. I completely agree with comments that have been made about the unprofessional and unethical treatment of animals. I admit full responsibility for the actions and am deeply, deeply remorseful.
There has been a lot of baying for blood and a campaign to name and shame so here I am. I am so sorry this happened and I wish I could undo the stupidity of the act but I can’t; all I can do is apologize and hope people can see the sincerity I am trying to convey. Firstly the fact that some people are trying to attach my act, which I did alone, to the company mentioned, is ridiculous. The fact that the extremely good work it has done all over Africa is now being questioned due to the stupid actions of one person is beyond belief. The company in question currently conserves over half a million acres of land across Africa, provides 19 000 meals to school children daily and is throwing major resource and people into a host of conservation projects across the continent and those who now feel that the action of one, now undermines everything it has built up and stands for is crazy and for that I am also extremely sorry.
This has already cost me my reputation and job and has undone all the work I have done in the fields of ground hornbill and elephant research over the last 13 years. The fact that for the months leading up to and after this incident many nights were spent sitting out in the bush after a full day’s work trying to do our part in slowing this terrible tide of rhino poaching gets very quickly forgotten. For years spent facilitating people’s introduction to this beautiful continent be it on foot or vehicle and getting people passionate about conserving these wild areas, this incident makes me extremely sad; all the hard work I have done is undone in 45 seconds of folly. For those of you who know me I am sure you’ll agree that this was done with no malice, merely poor judgement
It pleases me to see so many people standing up and saying this type of behaviour is unacceptable because it is and you should be angry. I ask that you vent your anger at me and don’t drag the name of an amazing company through the mud for something that they clearly had no hand in. But also look carefully at yourself and ask if there was anything you have done in the past that had it been caught on camera could have had negative consequences. I hope you will have room for forgiveness as you understand how these mistakes can be made.
Good one on you Brian for standing up and taking responsibility. But at the same time shame on you! People who think they become funny and cool when they drink but instead act like wankers are extremely annoying. People who do it at the expense of innocent creatures are the worse thing in the world. This was animal cruelty. Or like a doctor getting drunk in his operating room and operating on a defenceless, trusting patient for jollies. And even worse, people all over the world who DON’T know wild animals, are going to think they can try this too. And probably get trampled to death. By all means get trollied and make an idiot of yourself. But not at an animal’s expense.
Here is an article confirming the ranger’s firing and the serious light in which the Kruger Park views his actions.