Mum tells of horror when her car was rammed at a safari park – by a horny RHINO who mistook the 4×4 for a female

February 24, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

A mum-of-one has spoken of her horror after her car was rammed by a horn-y RHINO who mistook the grey vehicle – for a female MATE.

Vicky Liggins, 26, with her Mitsubishi Warrior that was damaged when a charging Rhino smashed into the vehicle at West Midlands Safari Park.

Vicky Liggins, 26, with her Mitsubishi Warrior that was damaged when a charging Rhino smashed into the vehicle at West Midlands Safari Park. (NTI/SWNS)

Vicky Liggins, 29, said she feared for her life after the three tonne beast smashed into her Mitsubishi Warrior causing £500 worth of damage.

She had been at a safari park with her 19-month-old daughter and sister when the African white rhino approached her car and began sniffing around the boot.

Then without warning, the powerful animal charged at the vehicle and even lifted the back end off the ground with its horn.

The rhino then repeatedly shunted the 4×4 – smashing a back light and crumpling the rear of the car as well as leaving dents on the driver’s side.

Some of the damage to the Mitsubishi Warrior  (NTI/SWNS)

Some of the damage to the Mitsubishi Warrior (NTI/SWNS)

A park ranger came to the rescue but incredibly the angry beast even gave chase as Vicky drove away with her screaming baby daughter Evelyn in the car.

Yesterday (Tue), Vicky said she believed the beast might have mistaken her car for a potential mate during the terrifying incident at West Midlands Safari Park.

The business manager added: “We had just driven in and the rhinos were right in front of us on the road so no-one could drive forward.

“All of a sudden there was a rhino behind and it came right up and was sniffing the car, which is classic mating behaviour for rhinos I’m told when they are looking for a mate.

“Then it just got its horn and dragged it from one side of the back panel to the other.

“It then shunted us from behind with such force that the back wheel lifted off the floor.

“We were absolutely petrified. I thought the rhino was going to pierce the back panel and smash through the rear windscreen.

“We couldn’t drive away because of the rhinos in front. I dread to think what would’ve happened if we’d been in a smaller, lighter vehicle.

“My daughter was in tears and the sad thing is that she loves animals.

“Somebody made a joke to me that maybe it was a horny rhino. It makes you laugh but it also makes sense because of the grey colour of my car.

“And it was quite strange when it came over because it was sniffing the boot of the car for a while.”

Rhino's at West Midlands Safari Park.  (NTI/SWNS)

Rhino’s at West Midlands Safari Park. (NTI/SWNS)

Vicky was on a day out at the attraction in Bewdley, Worcs., with Evelyn and sister Beth Rees, 26, on January 31 when the rhino attacked at about 2pm.

The family eventually managed to drive off to safety after a ranger shepherded the giant animals away from the cars.

Vicky was then forced to carry on for the rest of the drive-around safari before checking the damage when she reached the car park.

West Midland Safari Park has now apologised to Vicky and sent #250 as a goodwill gesture

But the mum, who lives with husband David, 33, and daughter Evelyn in Halesowen, West, Mids., has now blasted the popular attraction for how they dealt with the incident.

Vicky added: “It was one very scary and expensive day. The whole back panel needs replacing and I need a new light.

“I received no immediate apology and was referred to the terms and conditions.

“Even with the goodwill gesture, which they only sent me this week, I am still #250 out of pocket.

“I want the public to understand the dangers of safari parks. Even with so called rangers on site, it isn’t safe.

“You do expect some cosmetic damage maybe from deer antlers but you don’t expect a three tonne rhino to charge your car.

“I’m never stepping foot in that place again. The thing that concerns me is they pay rangers to watch what is happening and to intervene but they just sat there.”

West Midland Safari Park has now apologised but refused to go into detail about the incident.

A spokesperson said: “The highlight of a visit to West Midland Safari Park is to drive amongst free roaming animals and to get the chance to feed some of them.

“In addition, we also offer a guided minibus tour for a small extra charge.

“We welcome many, many thousands of visitors during the course of a year without mishap and, therefore, we are very sorry that wasn’t so on this particular occasion.”

Bob Lawrence, Director of Wildlife at the safari park, added: “You’ve got a far greater chance having an accident on the way to a zoo than you have in a zoo.

“That’s the only incident I can recall out of 700,000 visitors in the past year.”

* The white rhino, who are native to southern Africa, are renowned as the largest and most sociable of the surviving species.

The stand at about 2m (6.6ft) tall and 4m (13ft) long and can weigh up to three tonnes (472 stones).

There are an estimated 14,500 white rhinos left in the world today, a staggering three times more than all other rhino species put together.

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