A safari guide was killed in a violent elephant attack at a luxury game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in South Africa during a routine perimeter check, according to SA People News. Sheldon Hooper, 27, and a colleague were doing a routine fence patrol when a female elephant, which had managed to get on the inside of the electric fence attacked the young field guide, according to local reports.
The incident occurred last week at Thornybush River Lodge in Johannesburg. The elephant was allegedly part of a herd of nine, including two other cows and six juveniles.
Trevor Jordan, CEO of the reserve told the newspaper Times Live that "it's possible that Sheldon got too close to a 6-month-old calf."
One of the adult elephants chased Hooper for 32 feet before it attacked with its tusk, according to Jordan, as his colleague, who was unharmed, ran to get help.
"The elephant tusked him on the knee and just above the heart," said Jordan. "It left two holes, and he was bleeding profusely."
During the ordeal, the ranger called his girlfriend, Rebecca Rowles, who also worked at that park, The Mirror reported.
Hooper reportedly died in Rowles' arms 20 minutes after paramedics arrived on the scene.
In a tribute shared on the Thornybush Game Lodge's Facebook, Hooper, who started working at the reserve in July 2019, was remembered for "his quirky sense of humor, incredible kindness, infectious smile and love of the bush."
He was also described as a "gifted writer," who often contributed to the lodge's blog.
"Sheldon's life was a celebration of his passions and he is sorely missed by all," said his friends and colleagues.
The elephant herd "appeared relaxed and showed no aggression, said Jordan. "We decided against euthanizing the elephant," he said.