Thursday, April 12, 2012

Attack Elephant

Our Young Bull Approaches
 On our last morning we had one more chance to go out on safari. One of those beautiful mornings in the Okavango Delta where the light just shimmers with its golden hues. We started early so our fellow travelers could make their plane at 10:30 so we had even more of that great light. At about 7:00 a lone young bull elephant came out of the woods looking none too happy to be interrupted by a Land Rover full of people. In heat (musth), he was not happy seeing anything that might be a rival to his efforts as he search for a female that might be interested in fulfilling his needs. He glared at us and made some aggressive noises before taking a couple of quick steps in our direction. We understood he was only making a false charge to see how we would react, but it is still a bit unnerving to have a bull elephant, even a young one, feint a charge at you. We complied easily Gibson’s admonition that we stay still and quiet although that did not stop us from taking a few more pictures.
Feinting His Charge
After the feint, he made some more noises and then walked by us getting close so he could show he was the boss. We watched quietly relieved as he passed within about 10 feet before heading off to our rear. Gibson said that one of these bulls had recently actually grabbed one of the Land Rovers with his trunk and given it a shake. Our approach was close enough, thank you.
Eying Us As He Passes
Still the Eye
Perhaps there are females this way?
 In the 15 days we spent out looking at the animals, this is the only time we felt anything other than a mild interest on their part even though there is another young elephant that likes to hang out by the camp itself. The supposition is that he was part of a herd that has been trained to accept riders, but that he escaped and isn’t quite sure what to do with himself since he hasn’t been welcomed into one of the established herds here at Tubu Tree.
The Camp Elephant
Under Our Deck
 We also had an interesting walk back to our cabin one evening. Everywhere we have been, the mantra has been that you don’t walk alone to your cabin/tent after dark. Even though it is only about 30 meters to our cabin, we accepted the directions and always accepted the escort. The previous evening Linda and I had spent about an hour just talking to the manager who had walked us back before heading in to bed. This evening was different however. With only 10 meters to go to reach our cabin, our escort stopped us. We saw nothing until he pointed out the small herd of elephants off to the side. Since there are youngsters with the herd and he could not see all of them, he asked us to quietly follow him off the trail along the side of the cabin to the entrance. All was well as we learned the need for the escort.
Other Elephants at Tubu
The Youngster Applying the Dust Bath

No comments:

Post a Comment