A toddler is dead and her mother is in critical condition after being crushed by a giraffe in South Africa.
Officials said the 16-month-old girl and her mom were at the Kuleni Game Park in the KwaZulu-Natal province on Wednesday when the deadly encounter took place, according to BBC News and News24.
Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala, of the South African Police Service, said the two “were trampled” by the animal, according to News24’s report.
Shawn Herbst, of Netcare 911, said the child “was rushed through to a local doctors office,” where she was pronounced dead, according to IOL News.
The mother was found in critical condition and flown via Air Ambulance “to a specialist facility” for treatment, Herbst added, per the report.
As of Thursday morning, Herbst said, the woman is in the intensive care unit with multiple “traumatic” injuries.
It is unclear what sparked the rare attack by the giraffe. Gwala said the incident is under investigation, according to News24.
The daughter is believed to have lived with her mother at Kuleni Game Park, according to BBC News, while IOL News reports that the mother may be a tour guide at the lodge.
According to its website, Kuleni Game Park “hosts individually styled, eco-sensitive, timber structured lodges that offer absolute luxury in the bush.”
The site also promotes “close encounters with animals while walking or cycling the numerous trails.”
Visitors are free “to walk through the parks and walking trails,” barring any locations with a “NO ENTRY” sign, according to the park rules listed online.
The rules also warn that wildlife at the park is “unpredictable.” Visitors are encouraged to “keep a fair walking distance from them at all times.”