Rampaging elephant won’t tolerate dumbo car drivers
You’ve heard of horsepower — but has your car got elephant-power?
A Subaru in Kenya found itself on the wrong end of an elephant’s tusks after the giant animal pegged the speeding hatchback as a threat.
A camper at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya spotted the wild chase as the endangered vehicle came rushing toward his caravan, with the agitated pachyderm rampaging down the dirt road just behind them.
“We had split into two groups and were in two cars,” said photographer Mwangi Kirubi. “We were sat peacefully enjoying the company of the elephants until two other vehicles came speeding towards us and hooting for us to make way for them,” the tourist, 43, told Caters News.
“I have no idea where they were headed, but they were in a hurry and ignoring the 40-kph speed limit of the park,” said Kirubi, who believed the Subaru’s speed may have startled the elephant into defense, “to express her disgust at the disturbance the passing cars had caused.”
“I did not think that it had agitated the elephants too much, until from my car I saw the herd’s matriarch approach the other car, which contained the other photographers and threatened to attack,” he explained.
The fast-shooting shutterbug couldn’t help but appreciate the juxtaposition.
“This is the moment when I decided to shoot the sequence of images. I could not believe my eyes, the elephant was huge in comparison to the car,” said Kirubi.
Elephants are widely thought to be relatively docile creatures, but they won’t hesitate to attack if they feel threatened. In August, an experienced ranger at Kruger National Park in South Africa was impaled by a female elephant, which had been inadvertently provoked during a routine park inspection after her herd had breached the perimeter.
While some colleagues alleged that the killer elephant has a history of erratic behavior, park officials ultimately decided against euthanizing the animal after an investigation revealed that the herd was “relaxed and showed no aggression.”
On the South Africa National Parks website, an information page for Kruger explains that elephants are usually “peaceful” animals. However, mothers may resort to hostility “when young calves are present.” Male elephants, called bulls, may also become “exceptionally aggressive” during musth, a period when their testosterone levels spike. “All elephants may become aggressive when sick, injured or harassed,” they added.
When facing an elephant, look out for typical “threat displays,” such as head-shaking, trunk-swinging, raising their bodies or spreading their ears wide, the Kruger site warns.
Kirubi admitted it was a close call for all of them.
“Luckily we all made it back to camp alive, with nothing more than a scare and a great campfire story.”
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