The North West Parks and Tourism Board has confirmed that a male Spanish citizen was killed by an elephant at the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve after stepping out of the vehicle he was in, to take pictures.

The tourist and his three friends were driving in their vehicle, when they came across a breeding herd of elephants that were feeding a distance from the road.

‘According to eyewitnesses, the man decided to alight from the vehicle and approach the elephants on foot, taking pictures,’ the statement read.

Despite warnings from his fellow passengers, and other occupants from two other vehicles that were at the sighting, the guest allegedly did not heed their warnings.

That is when an adult elephant cow charged at the man, and he then ran from the elephant.

‘He was unfortunately not able to escape or evade the elephant, which was now joined by the whole herd, and was caught and trampled to death.

‘The elephants moved away immediately from the scene without any aggression towards the nearby vehicles and even
tually disappeared into the bushes.’

According to the Board, park officials were alerted and immediately rushed to the scene to help and secure the scene.

The officials also assisted the South African Police Service (SAPS) and authorities with the necessary procedures and investigation.

‘Statements by witnesses who observed the whole incident further suggest that the female elephant that charged and attacked might have done so to protect the herd and young ones.’

The case has since been handed to the police for further investigation.

‘The dangerous and unpredictable nature of wild animals is always emphasised on the permits and booklets for sale in Pilanesberg.

‘Park officials and honorary rangers are also patrolling the park and tourist roads when the park is open.’

According to the Board, tourists are always educated on the importance of remaining in the safety of their vehicle, respecting the distance between vehicles, allowing animals first right of passage, and only alighting in specially designat
ed areas.

In addition, rules and regulations of the park are printed on the entry permit which must be always adhered to, for the safety of guests and animals.

‘The Board is very saddened by this tragic incident. We would like to express our sincere condolences to the deceased’s next of kin and friends.

‘We also send our appreciation to Sun City Resort for immediately availing relevant professionals to give counselling to the visibly traumatized friends of the deceased.’

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter