KOTA KINABALU: Ashley Kelly had long wanted to see the Borneo Pygmy elephant. Now, she's so sorry that her wish came true. The trip to the Tabin wildlife reserve eventually led to her friend being gored to death by an elephant.
A day after attending the funeral of her buddy Jenna O'Grady Donley in Australia, she wrote on her Facebook yesterday:
“Jenna and I each had a dream. Jenna's was to see a clouded leopard not locked in captivity but wild and free, and mine was to see a pygmy elephant in the wild and free. Jenna's dream came true, but I wish mine never did.”
Donley, 26, a Sydney-based veterinarian, was gored to death by a bull elephant on Dec 7. The animal was apparently startled by the sounds of the camera shutter and flashes.
She had recently completed her studies at Sydney University together with Kelly.
Kelly said in her Facebook posting that the loss of her friend felt unreal.
“The one thing that I would like to say is that Donley did not suffer,” she said.
“I understand that there are probably things that some of you may want to know about Donley's tragic accident,” she wrote, adding that “you each deserve to know the truth and there is so much untruth in the media, which makes me so sad.”
“It is almost too bad to be true. For me, it all feels like a really bad dream and I keep thinking to myself that soon Donley is going to sweep open the blinds of our cabin and tell me to wake up that we have a day of amazing rainforest adventures ahead of us.”
Kelly said she and Donley had planned the adventure for a long time and when she walked out of the jungle alone, it was “the hardest thing in my entire life”.
She described Donley as an inspiring person who was hardworking, dedicated and disciplined.
“She was also so frustratingly good at everything she did! She was this magic combination of being so intelligent and at the same time being such an extremely hard worker and she did work so hard for everything that she achieved,” she added.
Sabah Wildlife Department rangers are continuing to look for the bull elephant. - theStarOnline