Thursday, December 08, 2011

Family says Sydney woman killed by elephant in Borneo was 'gifted'

AN Australian woman who died after being gored by an elephant in Malaysia was a gifted veterinarian with a keen interest in wild animals, her mother says.

Sydney-based vet Jenna O'Grady Donley was attacked by a pygmy elephant in a remote wildlife park on the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo yesterday.

The 25-year-old was trekking with a friend and a local guide in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah state when the elephant turned on them.

Her mother Liz Donley said the sanctuary said it was a very unusual occurrence.

She said Jenna and her friend were very respectful of animals' environments but believed the group had startled the bull elephant.

"Bull elephants are fast, they can move with unpredictability, and they're aggressive and they're protective,'' Ms Donley told ABC radio today.

"This was an animal by itself and they startled it.

"This is an accident that's happened, a very tragic accident.''

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

She had recently completed a thesis on renal failure in big cats, which her mother said would hopefully assist in finding a cure.

"Jenna was a very gifted child in the veterinary science field,'' Ms Donley said.

"Like a lot of the students that attend veterinary science they have to have a mixture of passion, intelligence and a complete devotion to the health of animals.''

Ms Donley said losing her only child at the age of 25 was difficult but she hoped Jenna's work would leave a lasting legacy.

"It has happened and from that we have to move on with a positive note - that from Jenna's work and from the type of person that she was, we know that she had many friends, good family - and someone else now will take on that research and continue it.''

One of young vet's university internship supervisors, Edla Arzey, said she had great potential.

"She was a very talented student, she was full of life, full of adventure, and this is what got her into trouble,'' Ms Arzey told AAP.

"She was doing something she really wanted to do, she was certainly enjoying everything here, interested in absolutely everything

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Family says Sydney woman killed by elephant in Borneo was 'gifted'

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