Having an experienced field guide with knowledge about Elephant behavior helps a lot when encountering these incredible creatures.
When meeting young bulls it is important to stand ones ground and not to reverse, as they see reversing as a challenge and want to sparr.
If meeting a cow with her young who is moving with lifted head and extended ears towards ones vehicle, it is a good idea to reverse slowly until the lady turns around and deems the distance to her young sufficient.
But if – as in this picture – an old bull strides towards ones car it is advisable to move to the side of the road out of his path. He will ignore the vehicle if he has enough space to pass. What an experience to have him that close! Learning to interpret the Elephants’ body language helps a lot to react properly.
PS: If a Bull is in musth = increased testosterone levels (indicated by his back legs being wet from dribbling urine) then it is best not to get close, give the him plenty of space and position the vehicle to have a easy escape route.
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📷 Picture by Christian Sperka
2 Replies to “Sometimes it is advisable to get out of the way”
It’s a good job your driver’s know how to interpret the elephants correctly! I wouldn’t want to get that wrong!
That is the reason why a proper game drive is led by a qualified field guide and not just a driver. Field guides have studied to identify gender and age, and they have learned to interpret the body language of these gentle giants. When it comes to the proper distance a good guide will rather leave too much space than too little. And should an unforeseen situation arise where an Elephant reacts nervous or even aggressive then an experienced guide will know how to act in such situations. As always in life things can go wrong, but if the field guide does his job right then the risk of anything serious happening is greatly reduced. It is the same as with a ‘reckless driver breaking the rules’ versus an ‘experienced driver observing the rules’. Things may go wrong for both, but the probability of this happening differs based on their behavior.