Spanish Tourist Tries for Closeup With Elephant – Ends Up Trampled to Death

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When will people learn that large animals are dangerous? 

The largest of all present-day animals is, obviously, the African elephant. These big tuskers are also intelligent, clannish, protective of their young and their herd, and have a predilection for stepping on things they think may be getting too close, as a Spanish tourist in South Africa found out the hard way.

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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.” 

The whole herd. That would be unpleasant, although not for very long. That’s cold comfort for his fiancée, who apparently witnessed the whole thing.


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Indications are that the tourist flouted several park rules by climbing out of the vehicle and approaching the pachyderms.

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

A female African bush elephant, as this was, can stand over eight feet high at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 7,000 pounds — that’s 3,200 kilograms for everyone that’s from a country that hasn’t had men walking around on the Moon. In other words, they are huge. They are fast, too, being able to move at up to 30 miles per hour, much faster than a human can run. Their trunks are amazingly dexterous but also strong; they have been known to pick smaller animals up and smash them against the ground before trampling them, although it appears the unfortunate Spanish tourist only suffered the latter fate.

In what universe would it seem a good idea to try to get a selfie with one of these creatures?

What’s really sad about all this is that camera technology, even the tiny cameras that are built into cellular phones, are so good now that it’s hard to see what anyone might gain by trying this. I have recently had reason to compare some photos my wife took with her old camera, a Canon A-1, one of the best 35mm film cameras ever made, and even landscape photos taken in bright sunlight with high-resolution films weren’t as good as similar shots taken with our digital SLR. There wouldn’t appear to be any reason that the Spanish guy in question couldn’t have gotten a good photo from where he was — unless, and this is pure speculation, he is the latest in a line of people who have done themselves in by attempting a “selfie” under stupid conditions.

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Sad. And very easily preventable.

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