File image of a young African elephant, with its mother, in South Africa. EFE
Spanish tourist trampled to death by elephant in South Africa nature park
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Spanish tourist trampled to death by elephant in South Africa nature park

The 43-year-old man was accompanied on the trip by his fiancée when he apparently got out of the vehicle to take photographs



Tuesday, 9 July 2024, 13:35

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A Spanish tourist has been trampled to death by an elephant in a South African nature park. The 43-year-old man, from Ejea de los Caballeros, Zaragoza, had got out of his vehicle to take pictures of a herd of elephants, park officials said. The incident happened on Sunday morning in the tourist hotspot Pilanesberg National Park, about 200 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg.

The deceased was accompanied by his fiancée and two other women in a private vehicle inside the reserve when they spotted six elephants, three of them calves. "Information suggests that the man stopped the vehicle, got out and approached the elephants to take photographs," said Sabata Mokgwabone, a police spokesperson. "The elephant allegedly attacked and killed him," he added.

Pieter Nel, director of conservation for the North West province's parks and tourism board, said the matriarch of the herd was "agitated" to see the tourist approaching and explained that it is "normal" to see elephants trying to "defend the young ones". "Many tourists are unaware of the dangers and don't realise how dangerous these animals can be." According to Sabata Mokgwabone and Pieter Nel, the deceased was Spanish. His companions, all from Johannesburg, were unharmed.

Elephant attacks are not uncommon in the region. In neighbouring Zimbabwe last year, 50 people were killed and 85 injured by wild animals, mostly elephants, according to local authorities.

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