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Ranger Dies After Rampaging Elephant Skewers Her Like Barbecue

Apr 05, 2017 05:18 AM EDT

An elephant stampede near a camp in Kruger National Park has resulted to the death of one ranger and serious injury to another.

The fallen woman, who was not identified, died after the tusk of an elephant entered her lower back and went through her chest, while the injured woman was transported to a clinic with a broken femur, CBS reported.

The incident, which involved both employees of South African National Parks, occurred Thursday around 4:20 p.m.

South African National Parks spokesman William Mabasa released a statement, expressing his sympathies: "On behalf of the SANParks management and staff, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased and to wish the other colleague who is currently in hospital a speedy recovery."

Speaking to local news site Lowvelder, Jaco Gericke, an emergency worker at Kruger National Park, said they are not sure whether it was a single elephant or a herd that attacked the employees.

"The elephant was already gone when we arrived," Gericke said. However, the park later confirmed that it was a herd of elephants.

Sky News noted that in Africa, it's most likely that villagers will attack elephants to protect their crops, rather than the other way around. In rare cases when elephants charge humans, it is most likely because they are too close to the animal.

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, covering nearly 2 million hectares of wildlife diversity. According to their website, an estimated 1,500 lions, 17,000 elephants, 48,000 buffalos and 1,000 leopards can be found in Kruger National Park. Mammals such as black and white rhino, hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, warthog, antelope species, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyena also roam free in the area.

Elephants are the world's largest land animals. Survey results from the Great Elephant Census show that there are 352,271 African savanna elephants in 18 countries -- a 30 percent population decrease in seven years due to illegal poaching and habitat loss.

The African elephant is listed as "vulnerable" species while the Asian elephant is classified as "endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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