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Elephants trample Spanish man to death in South Africa

  • July 10, 2024
  • 2 min read
Elephants trample Spanish man to death in South Africa

A Spanish tourist was trampled to death by elephants after he climbed out of his car to take photos of the herd. The 43-year-old man was visiting the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa with his fiancée and two other people before the attack happened, police said. The group was driving in their own vehicle, according to officials, before they spotted three elephants with their calves.

When the man exited the car and walked towards the herd, the matriarch was said to have been “agitated,” charging at the man, a spokesperson for the local tourism board said. Without the possibility to escape, the Spaniard was then trampled on by the rest of the herd. He was taken to hospital but died of his injuries.

The group of people with him, all Johannesburg residents, were all unharmed, police say. An investigation is currently underway.

South Africa’s national parks are among the most popular attractions, bringing in millions of visitors annually. It is crucial, officials say, for visitors to follow the safety precautions.

“Tourists are constantly reminded about the importance of staying inside their vehicles when visiting the park, and to keep a good distance between animals and their vehicles and give animals a chance to move freely, and to only get out of vehicles in safely designated areas,” Thami Matshego, chief executive officer of the North West Parks and Tourism Board told local news outlet Netwerk24.

This had been “normal behaviour” for a wild elephant when they are defending their young, Mr Nel from the same tourism body said. “Despite warnings from his fellow passengers and occupants from two other vehicles that were at the sighting, he [the deceased] unfortunately did not heed their warnings,” he added.

Such attacks are not unheard of. Earlier this year, an 80-year-old American was killed when an elephant trampled her safari vehicle in Zambia and in 2019, a suspected Rhino poacher was trampled on by an elephant before being eaten by a pride of lions at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

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