A toddler was killed and her mother was critically injured when they were crushed by a giraffe at a luxury game reserve in South Africa.
The infant, a 16-month-old girl, lived with her mother at the luxury Kuleni Game Park in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
Mother, Daughter 'Trampled' by the Animal
As reported by BBC News, details of the tragic incident are scarce, but police told the outlet that an investigation was underway to determine what exactly happened.
It is unusual for giraffes to attack people and they are a common feature in game lodges in South Africa. The mother and daughter were "trampled" by an adult giraffe and the child was rushed to the nearest doctor for treatment but was pronounced dead, police Lieutenant Nqobile Madlala told BBC.
"When a team of operational paramedics arrived on scene they found the mother in a critical condition," Madlala added. "The mother was treated on scene, however due to the nature of the patient's injuries and distance to an appropriate hospital, a decision was made to activate the Netcare 911 Helicopter Air Ambulance to fly the patient to a specialist facility."
As of Thursday, morning the mother was still in the intensive care unit having suffered poly traumatic injuries.
Visitors can 'Enjoy Close Encounters with Animals' at the Park
It is not clear where in the large game park, that features 14 lodges, the incident occurred on Wednesday. It is believed that the woman worked at one of the lodges as a tour guide. A manager at one of the luxury accommodations was reluctant to speak, saying the matter was "sensitive."
The park is 16km (10 miles) outside Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal, a province that is popular with local and international tourists. On its website, the park says that visitors can "enjoy close encounters with animals while walking or cycling the numerous trails."
Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals and are not usually aggressive. The females can however be aggressive while protecting their calf. In 2018, British scientist Sam William's wife and son were trampled by a female giraffe at Blyde Wildlife Estate in South Africa. The two were treated at a private hospital in Johannesburg and survived the attack.