A toddler has been horrifically crushed to death and her mother critically injured when a giraffe thought to be protecting its calf attacked them in a safari park.
The tragic mum, 25, and her 16-month-old daughter were staying on the Kuleni Game Farm 170 miles north-east of Durban, famed for its nature trails with their father.
The park is home to giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, nyala and duikers with strictly no predators and promises guests at the £150-a-night lodges a ‘safe environment’.
The tragedy is being investigated by South African Police and animal experts to discover exactly what happened when the mum and daughter were attacked without warning.
Giraffes use their legs and necks with two potentially deadly ossicones on top of their heads – effectively horns – to attack which they can use as powerful whiplash weapons.
After the giraffe was driven off the critically injured mother and daughter were rushed to a doctor but nothing could be done to save the toddler who died in his surgery.
The young mum was transferred in critical care unit to hospital where she is fighting for her life and the 14-lodge game farm were not making any comment to the media.
Police spokesman Lieut-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said: ‘The 25-year-old mother and her 16-month-old child were at Kuleni Game Farm in Hluhluwe when they were trampled by a giraffe.
‘The child was taken to the nearest doctor’s room where she died and the mother was rushed to hospital for medical attention and is reported to be in a critical condition.
‘The circumstances surrounding the attack are still under investigation’ she said.
It is understood the mother and daughter were not tourists to the wildlife reserve but were a local family staying at the lodge with their father who worked in the area.
In 2018 British scientist Dr Katy Williams, 36, and her son Finn, 3, were both attacked by a female giraffe protecting its calf and left critically injured in South Africa.
Only the intervention of her husband Dr Sam Williams, 36, who was out jogging on the wildlife estate where they lived and work saved them both from being killed.
After bravely driving off the protective giraffe he called the emergency services and both were airlifted from the Blyde Willdlife Estate in Hoedspruit in Limpopo province.
They were both in comas for a month and it was feared Finn would be brain damaged by the severe head injuries but both made a long but remarkable and full recovery.
Sam, now 40, was jogging on the wildlife estate where both wildlife scientists live and work and stumbled across the horrific attack just a few hundred yards from home.
A few months earlier a wildlife cameraman working on TV’s Wild at Heart was attacked and killed by an agitated giraffe when it battered him with a swipe with its long neck.
South African Carlo Carvalho, 47, was knocked 16 foot through the air at the Glen Africa game park in Broederstroom, North West province where the series was filmed.
He was rushed to hospital but died from severe head injuries.
In 2019 Swiss tourist Roland Koller was killed by a giraffe in the Kruger National Park when a speeding minibus hit the young female and knocked it up into the air.
This article by Jamie Pyatt was first published by The Daily Mail on 20 October 2022. Lead Image: The tragic mum, 25, and her 16-month-old daughter were staying on the Kuleni Game Farm 170 miles north-east of Durban, famed for its nature trails with their father (file image of Giraffes in South Africa).
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