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Tourist who left car to take photos trampled to death by elephants in South Africa

Elephants cross a road inside the Pilanesberg Game Reserve near Rustenburg, South Africa, on Sept. 15, 2009. (AP Photo Carley Petesch) Elephants cross a road inside the Pilanesberg Game Reserve near Rustenburg, South Africa, on Sept. 15, 2009. (AP Photo Carley Petesch)
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CAPE TOWN, South Africa -

Elephants trampled to death a Spanish tourist at a South African wildlife reserve after he left his vehicle and approached a herd to take photographs, police and local government authorities said Tuesday.

The 43-year-old man was killed on Sunday at Pilanesberg National Park in North West province, about 180 kilometres (111 miles) from Johannesburg, police said.

The elephant herd included young calves. Wildlife experts often warn that elephants are especially protective of their young and can react aggressively to a perceived threat.

Police said the man's fiancée and two other women, all from Johannesburg, were also in the vehicle and unharmed.

Piet Nel, acting chief conservation officer for the North West Parks and Tourism Board, said guests at Pilanesberg are told they are not allowed to leave their vehicles while driving through the park and must sign forms showing they understand the rules.

“In some cases, people are oblivious to the dangers in the parks,” Nel said. "We must remember that you are entering a wild area.”

Elephants killed two American tourists this year in separate attacks in the southern African nation of Zambia.

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