A tourist has died in front of his wife after being trampled and gored by an elephant at a nature reserve in southern Ethiopia, authorities have confirmed.
Local media reported that a group of Spanish tourists had visited the Chebera-Churchura Nature Park on Friday 14 July. According to Spanish daily newspaper La Vanguardia, it is believed that the man was killed while attempting to get close-up images of the animal.
The Spanish government confirmed his death on Sunday 23 July and the country’s embassy, based in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, is now co-ordinating with authorities to have his body returned.
The newspaper reported that witnesses said the man did not follow the instructions and approached the elephant despite the danger.
The victim reportedly climbed out of his vehicle to get a better shot but was then hit with the animal’s trunk and stabbed in the body with its tusk.
The identity of the victim is yet to be released.
The elephant reportedly ran into a nearby forest area after the tour guides fired off a round from a gun. Confirmation of the death was first reported by the EuropaPress newswire. It cited local news sources from Ethiopia but stressed eyewitness accounts were not independently verified.
It’s not the first time such an attack has occurred.
On 1 February last year, a similar case was reported after a British tourist was killed in front of his 16-year-old daughter by an elephant in Thailand.
Witnesses said 36-year-old Gareth Crowe was killed instantly after being stabbed with its tusk after being thrown from the back of the animal during a trek.
Three months later, in May, a 24-year-old veterinarian was killed in Indonesia after being trampled by a critically endangered Sumatran elephant while taking photographs of it.
It is believed it was one of two elephants also being used for tourist treks, which animal rights groups argue is both “painful and unnatural” for the creature.