Friday, December 9, 2011

Australian tourist killed by pygmy elephant

Snapping pictures of a bull elephant turned out to be fatal for a young Australian veterinarian when the elephant charged at her and killed her. The tragedy occured at a wildlife reserve in Sabah, Malaysia. The woman, Jenna O'Grady Donley from New South Wales, Australia approached the animal after she saw it roam alone near a mud volcano. It is believed that the animal might have been startled by the flash from her camera when she tried to take pictures of it. Her parents spoke about her in an interview with ABC News.

Stories of death caused by wild elephants are not uncommon.

In late September 2011, a Ukrainian  woman, Tatiana Meia, was seriously injured when the female elephant she was riding was attacked by a male elephant in Phuket, Thailand while trekking. She suffered a broken femur, right tibia and right fibula, along with numerous scrapes and bruises to her body.

Tatiana Meia

In late September 2009, a British tourist was lucky to be alive when he pretended to be dead as an elephant battered him with its tusks. Jonathan Sykes, 24, was on a five-week camping trip in Kenya when the animal came charging out of the undergrowth and hit him in the back.His injuries resulted in Mr Sykes being airlifted to hospital where it was revealed that he had lost five pints of blood and needed around 80 stitches in his leg.

Jonathan Sykes

In early April 2009, a Dutch tourist, Robert Goldbach was trampled to death by a wild elephant in Assam, India after he was intent on taking the animal's picture even after it had charged at him and the other tourists.

In late January 2008, an American tourist, Jeremy Allen McGill was attacked by a wild elephant in Southern China. He suffered fractured ribs and stomach injuries as a result of being tossed to the side by the elephant using its trunk.  His story was also featured on the popular tv show "I'm alive" on Animal Planet (see video below).

This just proves that you need to be careful when approaching an animal, be it at the zoo or some wildlife reserve because it is after all a wild animal so when you approach it, it will go into "safety mode".

A camera flash may seem like nothing to us but to a wild animal, it may be something harmful.

You should also do whatever the guide says for your own safety. So if the guide says you shouldn't venture too far in the forest or that you should go back to the bus because it looks like the animal might charge towards you, you should just listen and not stay to take some more pictures.

A little common sense goes a long way.