Giraffe attack at South Africa game reserve leaves British scientist’s wife and son fighting for life.
The wife and young son of a British scientist are fighting for their lives in hospital after being attacked by a giraffe at a wildlife reserve in South Africa.
US-born Dr Katy Williams, 35, and son Finn, three, were set upon near their home on the Blyde Wildlife Estate in Hoedspruit.
They were saved when Dr Williams’ husband, Sam, returned home from work and managed to chase off the animal on Monday evening.
He said it was a “very difficult time” but that he regarded the attack as an “unfortunate act of nature”.
It is thought the giraffe had attacked because it was protecting its young calf and had felt under threat when they surprised her.
Both husband and wife are scientists with post PhD experience in animal-related fields.
Dr Williams and her son were so badly hurt they were transferred to a local airfield to await two helicopter air ambulances from Johannesburg.
They underwent operations and are said to be in a stable but critical condition.
Riaan Cilliers, manager of Blyde Wildlife Estate, said: “We are all in shock about this very sad incident and we ensure the family that they are in our prayers.”
The attack was just 150 yards from the home where the two scientists live.
Dr Williams and her son were waiting for her husband to return from his evening trail run in the hills around the nature reserve.
A lawyer who represents the family Marina Botha said: “Sam confirms that he understands nature and with the information available at the moment he regards the incident as an unfortunate act of nature.
“He understands the giraffe saw his wife as a threat to her young one” .
A spokesman for ER24 who sent out two air ambulance helicopters confirmed both Katy and Finn had suffered “numerous serious injuries” and were taken to hospital in critical condition.
The attack comes after a cameraman on British TV show Wild at Heart was killed by a giraffe as he filmed at the Glen Africa game reserve in Broederstroom, in North West Province, earlier this year.
South African film maker Carlos Carvalho, 47, was knocked 16 feet through the air when the giraffe slammed into him with his neck and died of his injuries later in hospital.
Giraffes grow up to 19 feet tall and can weigh over a tonne. Males become aggressive in mating season and females when protecting their young.