Malaysia pygmy elephant gores Aussie

2011-12-07 20:22

Kuala Lumpur - A pygmy elephant gored an Australian woman to death on Wednesday in a remote wildlife park on Borneo island in Malaysia.

The woman in her 20s was trekking with a friend and a Malaysian guide in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah state when they were attacked by the rare pygmy elephant, said state wildlife department director Laurentius Ambu.

Ambu told AFP that the bull may have been startled when the two tourists tried to take its photo and charged at them.

While the guide and one woman managed to get away, the elephant's tusk pierced the other woman's body and she died instantly, he said.

Ambu said the women had trekked to a mud volcano but were disappointed that they didn't see much wildlife so the guide took them back another way and not on the main path.

Police are questioning the guide. Ambu said fatal attacks were rare though single elephant bulls are known to be aggressive.

Pygmy elephants, which are about about 2.5m tall compared to around 3m for mainland Asian elephants, are unique to Borneo.

Authorities say the elephant, a sub-species of the Asian elephant, is considered endangered with around 1 500 - 2 000 left on Borneo island.