When one encounters one of the big 5 (lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and elephant) it is not uncommon to ask now where is the Danger? Why is the beast just standing there minding his own business? Why have these beasts earned themselves the reputation of being dangerous, and that they all have/can kill humans. Today I would like to discuss just one of the group namely the biggest and most powerful of them all, the elephant.
When one observes an elephant from a distance you get the impression that this beast is at peace with the world and that it would be safe to walk up to it and touch the beast, however like all man, animals have a comfort zone and will ignore everything else outside this zone. Should you enter the zone and stop, the elephant would take notice and provided that you do not go any nearer, they would continue with what they normally do, eating. You may ask, why is it so that one hear and see, in the media that an elephant has attacked cars, buses, and people on foot, and in many cases these attacks caused severe injuries and even death? The behaviour of wild animals is not easily explained and I am by no means an behavior specialist, but I have over many years observed specialist wildlife tourist guides do their thing around these beautiful beasts.
The following were no go situations. Elephant Cows with very young babies, is to be avoided because the mothers are very protective of their young. the best is to observe them from a safe distance and let them accept your presence, note - never leave your car, because then you will be regarded as a threat, this is what the experts proved over and over. Males in "must" are more difficult to identify but if you find a elephant Bull on your game drive please note that elephants have glands on the side of the head just back of the eye, if you observe a dark streak on the side of the head, chances are that it is a bull coming into or already is in must. ,Other indicators are urination on the rear legs. These Elephants could be frustrated or they want to test their power by taking on some object, that would test their power, be it a tree to push over or a motorcar.
Give these animals a wide berth and observe from a distance because even your camera's clicking could spark an reaction.
The photo set was presumely take during a game drive. I want you to note how close the car was following this bull Elephant. It certainly irritated the bull and when he reached the oncoming car he vented a few of his frustrations (note the streaks on his head). The persons in the jetta were lucky to come away with no serious injuries. So remember they may be mild mannered most of the time .....they are still WILD Animals.