By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies –An Israeli elephant expert was killed Thursday morning in a blast in the Ethiopian capital. Prof. Yehezkel Shoshani, a world-renowned specialist, was killed after a minibus blew up in the heart of Addis Ababa. Two other passengers were killed, and nine were seriously wounded.
Shoshani, 65, dedicated his life to the study of elephants. For eight years, he studied elephant communities in the east African state of Eritrea, and moved to Ethiopia last year to teach at the University of Addis Ababa.
In an interview during a recent visit to Israel, he told Haaretz that the volatile political situation near the Eritrea-Ethiopia border was one of the reasons that motivated him to move to Ethiopia.
Shoshani grew up in Tel Aviv, and became interested in elephants after reading in his youth about a friendship between a man and an elephant. He studied zoology in Michigan and went on to carry out research in Sri Lanka and Kenya. He became a leading elephant expert, and established an elephant lovers’ society in America. His research focused mainly on elephants’ anatomy and evolution.
His wife lives in the United States, and he has relatives in Israel.
Shoshani dedicated a lifetime of work to preserving Ethiopia’s declining population of elephants in a national park near the Eritrea border. The area has witnessed some fierce fighting between the two countries.