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Staff shocked after elephant attack

Staff at an elephant sanctuary are still shaken following the death of their colleague earlier this week.

An African elephant. Picture: animal.nationalgeographic.com

JOHANNESBURG - Staff at the elephant sanctuary in Hartbeespoort Dam are still coming to terms with the sudden death of their colleague who was trampled by two teenage elephants this week.

The 40-year-old Zimbabwean wrangler was killed when he found himself in the middle of a display of dominance by the animals.

His death follows another incident in the Kruger National Park this week in which a tourist's car was flipped over by an elephant.

Owner of the sanctuary Craig Saunders said his staff were still in shock following the incident.

"The staff are affect by the incident and we'd appreciate it if people were to give us space and time to deal with the matter."

Elephant behavior expert Marion Garai said an attack by a trained animal on its handler was not unusual.

"There have been quite a few incidents that I've heard of."

North West police said they do not expect any foul play in the man's death, but a formal inquest docket has been opened.