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Fatal elephant attack the first in Sabah: Resort
Published on: Friday, December 09, 2011

Kota Kinabalu: Tabin Wildlife Resort on Thursday said the fatal elephant attack on Wednesday on Australian veterinarian, Jenna O'Grady Donley, is the first such occurrence in Sabah.

Chairman of Tabin Wildlife Holidays Sdn Bhd, Datuk Yusoff Mohd Kassim, said most wild animals will ignore humans as long as they are not a direct threat to themselves, their habitat or their young.

Expressing the Resort board members' and management's deepest sympathy and condolence to Jenna's family, he said there were reports of elephant attacks on tourists in Thailand that resulted in deaths.

"In 2007, a tigress killed 17-year-old boy at the San Francisco Zoo, the only fatality to occur in a zoo.

"Also in Norway a 17-year-old boy was mauled to death by a polar bear on a school trip while sleeping when the electric trip designed to deter wild animals failed. The bear was later shot dead," he said in a statement.

In the case of Jenna, he said a stray bull elephant killed the young 26-year-old vet.

Nevertheless, he said it was indeed a sad moment that an attack by a wild animal on humans had taken place in Tabin.

Based on the statement made by Jenna's companion, Ashley, he said there was slight misadventure on their part as they came closer to the animal to take pictures, against a guide's advice earlier.

However, Yusoff said he does not wish to elaborate further on the matter.

He said a representative of the Australian High Commission, Yushen Cui, came on Thursday morning to make arrangements to fly home the remains.

On other developments, he clarified that the guide with Tabin Wildlife Resort was never detained as reported.

"He had given full cooperation to the police and there is no negligence on his part.

"He has been a trained guide with Tabin Wildlife since 2002 and a very experienced local," he said.

Generally, he said, on an average nature holiday there is not much to worry about threats from local wildlife.

An attack by wild animals on humans, he said, is very rare.

"Our guides at Tabin Wildlife Resort are always mindful of the Wildlife Department's rules and all necessary safety precautions when entering the nature trails at Tabin.

"We will continuously monitor any shortcomings and address them accordingly to prevent any future tragic occurrences," he said.

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