Tourist Killed by Elephants While Taking Photos, Leaves Fiancée in Car

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A Spanish tourist was killed by a herd of elephants at a South African wildlife reserve after he exited his vehicle to take photographs, authorities reported on Tuesday. The tragic incident, which took place at Pilanesberg National Park in North West province, approximately 110 miles from Johannesburg, marks the third fatality of its kind on the continent in under four months.

The 43-year-old man was fatally trampled on Sunday when an adult female elephant charged at him after he approached the herd. Despite attempts to escape, he was overwhelmed by the entire herd and lost his life, according to the North West province’s Parks and Tourism Board, which oversees the park.

The board further stated that after the incident, the elephants retreated without showing any aggression towards other nearby vehicles and soon vanished into the surrounding bush. It was noted that the herd included young calves, and wildlife experts caution that elephants can become particularly defensive and aggressive when they sense their young are threatened.

Police indicated that the man’s fiancée and two other women, who were also in the vehicle and from Johannesburg, were not harmed during the incident.

Piet Nel, the acting chief conservation officer for the North West Parks and Tourism Board, emphasized that visitors to Pilanesberg are instructed not to leave their vehicles and are required to sign forms acknowledging they understand this regulation. Nel remarked that some visitors may not fully grasp the risks present in such wild settings.

The region has seen similar tragic events before. In 2021, elephants in South Africa’s Kruger National Park killed a suspected poacher.

Additionally, this year alone, elephants in Zambia have been responsible for the deaths of two American tourists in separate incidents. In one case, Juliana Gle Tourneau, a 64-year-old from New Mexico, was killed when an elephant charged their vehicle.

In another, Gail Mattson, a 79-year-old from Minnesota, died in an attack recorded in a shocking cellphone video.

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