Vet Student Gored To Death By Pygmy Elephant

A pygmy elephant has gored to death a trainee vet in a remote wildlife park on the Malaysian island of Borneo.

Jenna O'Grady Donley, 25, from New South Wales, Australia, was trekking with a friend and a Malaysian guide in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah state when they were attacked by the rare elephant.

State wildlife department director Laurentius Ambu said the bull may have been startled and charged when the two tourists tried to take its photo.

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.

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

Police are questioning the guide.

Mr Ambu said fatal attacks were rare, though single elephant bulls are known to be aggressive.

Jenna Donley's mother Liz Donley told ABC: "Bull elephants are fast, they can move with unpredictability, and they're aggressive and they're protective.

"This was an animal by itself and they startled it. This is an accident that's happened, a very tragic accident."

She said her daughter had a keen interest in large animals and had volunteered in Africa to help injured animals at a wildlife sanctuary.

Ms Donley was a final-year student at The University of Sydney, where she was studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Science.

It is understood she was due to graduate next week.

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