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Spanish tourist killed by elephant in South Africa

The man, his fiance and two women were driving their own vehicles within the reserve when they spotted three elephants and three calves, police said

A Spanish tourist was trampled to death by an elephant after stepping out of his vehicle to take photos of a small herd at a renowned South African park, the authorities said on 9 July.

The 43-year-old man was attacked on the morning of 7 July at Pilanesberg National Park, a tourist magnet about 200 km north-west of Johannesburg, according to park officials.

The man, his fiance and two women were driving their own vehicles within the reserve when they spotted three elephants and three calves, police said.

“Reports suggest that the man stopped the vehicle, alighted and went closer to the elephants to take pictures,” police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone said. “The elephants allegedly attacked and killed him.”

Pieter Nel, chief conservation officer at the North West province’s Parks and Tourism Board, said the matriarch of the herd attacked upon becoming “agitated” after seeing the tourist approach.

It is “normal behaviour” for elephants to try to “defend the young ones”, he added.

“Lots of tourists are oblivious to the dangers and do not realise how dangerous these animals can be,” he told AFP.

Nel and Mokgwabone said the man was from Spain.

His companions, all from Johannesburg, were unharmed, the police said, adding that they had opened an investigation.

Elephant attacks are not uncommon in the region.

In 2021, a suspected poacher was killed by elephants in South Africa’s world-famous Kruger National Park.

And in 2023, 50 people were killed and 85 injured by wild animals – mostly elephants – in neighbouring Zimbabwe, according to the local authorities.

Pilanesberg and other South African parks tell visitors driving through the reserves to keep the windows closed and not to disembark from their vehicles.

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Source
AFP
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