Elephants kill tourist in South Africa after he tried to get close to take pictures

A Spanish tourist reportedly has been “trampled to death” by elephants in South Africa after he tried to get close to them to take pictures. 

The fatal incident involving the 43-year-old man happened Sunday at the Pilanesberg National Park outside of Johannesburg, officials told the AFP. 

“Reports suggest that the man stopped the vehicle…  and went closer to the elephants to take pictures,” police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone told the news agency, with authorities adding that the tourist was in the company of his fiancée. 

The North West Parks and Tourism Board (NWPTB) told the AFP that a female elephant then charged at the man and “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.” 

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South Africa elephant

An African bush elephant is seen walking on a red dirt road in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. (Arterra/Marica van der Meer/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“The elephants moved away immediately from the scene without any aggression toward the nearby vehicles and eventually disappeared into the bushes,” the agency added. 

NWPTB Chief Conservation Officer Pieter Nel said the female elephant became “agitated” by seeing the man approaching the herd and that it’s normal for them to try to “defend the young ones.” 

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Elephants roaming in South Africa

Elephants roam through trees and low bush in September 2016 at the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP via Getty Images)

“Lots of tourists are oblivious to the dangers and do not realize how dangerous these animals can be,” Nel said to the AFP. 

The tourist’s fiancée and two other women that were traveling in his vehicle reportedly were unharmed. 

Rhino in South Africa

A rhino is seen inside the Pilanesberg National Park. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP via Getty Images)

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Officials at Pilanesberg National Park recommend visitors driving through the area keep their windows closed and not leave their vehicles, according to the AFP. 

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