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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:14 pm 
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It is all about the "comfort zone". No, I am not talking as a weekend ranger, what is your comfort zone with a Mamba? What is your comfort zone with an ellie? :hmz:

If you have knowledge of the animal and it's behaviour your comfort zone could be larger or smaller than the next person. If you do not feel comfortable don't be there! Every person has their own limit, DON'T PUSH YOUR OWN ENVELOPE!!!!!! :rtm:


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:42 pm 
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H.E. :thumbs_up:

One thing I neglected to mention, and maybe the most important...

It is not so much about your comfort zone, but more, keeping out of the animals comfort zone. Once any animal changes it's behaviour patern, you have already infringed on it's comfort zone...this is when things go south. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:31 am 
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You will never know if the idiot that passed by 2 minutes before you arrived, irritated the elephant to such an extent that seeing you now he decides he's had enough or cars for the day.....keep that in mind too.


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:11 am 
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The posts on here along with the advice are to me, very helpful. Nobody has claimed to be the elephant whisperer and, most of us know what is meant by "elephant etiquette". It is just advice from people who have encountered elephants in the wild.

I have been to game reserves many times but never driven myself.

So many of us overseas view the ellie as a gentle giant. (Must be the wildlife programmes). I now know, that if I am in a closed vehicle and driving myself, the animal I need to be most careful of is the ellie, according to this thread.

Posters have said they prefer to keep a distance and that the ellies in Kruger can lose their cool without warning, a car could have passed by earlier and irritated them. It may be that the Kruger elephants are so many in number that they feel under pressure or, maybe they have come from another country where they are not used to cars.

Personally I find the advice very useful as I intend, if possible, to visit this year and drive myself for the first time and I will pay attention to the advice on this thread. For example, don't get boxed in by other cars at a sighting so you cannot rapidly exit. :big_eyes:


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:53 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
So here's my ad charge story.
I've been driving on Welgevonden since 2001.
My family's been going there since about 1996.
If I remember correctly, the incident happened in July 2007.
We were on our way out of the reserve and came across a reasonably-sized breeding herd.
In those days there was a full-time researcher doing research on the elephants in the reserve and he knew the herds quite well.
The researcher was on the other side of the herd.
When we arrived, he motioned me to switch off my engine, which I did.
I was in an OSV, with two mates who'd been to the reserve a number of times with me.

They were all feeding quite calmly, with the matriarch on the edge of the road.
Slowly the herd moved off the road and towards the ravine on my right hand side, eventually leaving just the (suspected) matriarch feeding by herself.
All of a sudden, she just snapped and went from feeding to full charge in a split second.

I managed to switch on the car, get into reverse and start moving almost as quickly as she did.
While reversing at full pace, with my mates leaning out the vehicle and shouting 'left', 'right' (have you tried reversing an OSV at full pace on dirt roads?), she kept on coming unabated.
Eventually, probably after about 100-150m, we outran her and had a bit of a breather.

But then she caught up, and she kept on coming.
Eventually, after reversing for at least 300m and probably more, I managed to lose the road and got stuck 'vas' on some rocks on the side of the road. (If you've ever driven a 4.5 liter 24 valve Land Cruiser, you'll know it takes a fair amount to get it stuck).
She carried on coming full tilt until I stopped dead, at which point she stopped between 5 to 10 meters in front of the vehicle, flapping her ears and quite agitated.
Try as I might, with 4x4 low range engaged, I could not budge.
And all the time she stood there, menacing us.

Eventually the researcher radioed to find out what had become of us.
I let him know we needed a bit of help and he arrived shortly.
We now had to make a plan for him to attach his winch to us, while the matriarch stood close by.
Fortunately he knew her quite well and he talked to her in soothing tones all the time he was out his vehicle. After two attempts at pulling us out (I can't remember exactly why we had to do it twice, I think I may have got stuck a second time while coming out), with him reversing and me going forward, we came free.
He told me that in his opinion I'd done the exact right thing and got out of her way, cos she meant business. After thanking him, we hot-footed it out of there, stopped 2 minutes down the road, and had a breather and a beer to calm the nerves.

What I suspect happened is that the rest of the herd had circled around and behind us, effectively placing us between the matriarch and her herd.
What was the scariest was that she only stopped when I did and even then she didn't move off but stayed very close to us.
I remember praying for her to leave us in peace (literally).
It is so far the scariest (and hopefully the most scary )incident I've had with an elephant (although I've since had a very close second) and the second scariest incident I've ever had.

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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:18 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:29 am
Posts: 1664
Location: Worcester , Cape
A couple years ago , at Shingwedzi , taking a late afternoon drive down the S50 , we came to this big guy standing next to the road , quietly munching away .
He allowed us to go past him without a fuss .
Some time later , when we returned , he was still more or less in the same area , but now when we approached, he walked up to me his ears and trunk flapping.
We stopped and waited .
Another car and another came up and every time those " moves " from him saying " stay where you are .
Gate time approaching and still he kept on "menacing " every vehicle coming near him . :evil:
Then one driver charged passed him , and everybody followed one at a time, no problem .
It was as if he said " OK guys , I've had enough fun now , off you go now " . :whistle:

_________________
Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:02 pm 
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What does everyone think about statements made in previous threads about the elephants being more aggresive in the north of Kruger?

I have not really found this to be the case. We joke that the previous owner of our car must have spent all his time annoying the ellies of kruger, and now they have remebered the car and take it out on us, caus if there is an elephant on the side of the road we just swith off and wait! everyone else passes through, when we try they come into the road and that stops us in our tracks, then others can pass, but still not us :huh: . This is not a statment, just an observation. Do you think it is the trype of car?


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:48 am 
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Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
On this latest trip, S108 we were stopped watching a small breeding herd feeding in the bushes on the right, all calm, finished watching them, slowly pulled off with at least 3 or 4 cars behind us.
Then a huge Bull Ellie comes into view ambling down the centre of the road towards us, stuff of nightmares!
Despite SO having the car in reverse no one backed up, effectively closing the road behind us.
No other option, SO pulled right over to the opposite edge of the road, switched the engine off, windows closed, no talking, except my knees knocking and heart pounding loud enough that I am sure the Ellie could hear. :roll:
He carried on walking towards us, sniffing the air until he got literally metres in front, then just veered off the road right next to us and disappeared into the bush.
What relief, I can tell you.

But I do think we were lucky, in this case the big guy was super relaxed and its not something I would either recommend or we normally do but due to peoples ignorance behind us left us with no other option. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:06 pm 
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Location: southern gauteng
On S50 east of Shingwedzi there is a loop close to the bird hide that takes you to the rivers edge , I was once charged 3 times by a matriarch while boxed in by other vehicles at the end of the loop , each time she retreated about 50 - 100 m and returned .

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:29 pm 
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Posts: 274
Location: JHB
In Dec I had an incident on Doispan Road where a lone bull came out into road and we followed him for about 50 metres - we were a good 30-40m away.
He just ambled along up the road.
A "bright spark" decided to overtake me with little room between him and the ellie.
I was taking a video of this and the elephant walked off the road and as he was almost out of sight , he turned around in one swoop, ears flapping, trumpeting and trunk in the air and made a dash for us.
I was driving and dropped the video ... still taping and it was panic stations.
I was hoping to reverse, but was boxed in by a stream of cars behind.
We could hear the passenger in the front car shriek and they made a beeline dash and managed to speed past and here I was confronted by this.
I then managed to do a three point turn (I don't remember how I did it) and apparently the elephant wandered off into the bush.
I was a shivering wreck!!
The video is amusing as it has recorded all the conversation going on in the kombi and all you see on the video is the car upholstery for about 10 mins.
Could the engine of a kombi be annoying to them as we thought we had kept our distance.
Martie at LS told me that if an elephant puts its trunk over its tusk and charges, then it means business, otherwise its a mock charge and just sending out a warning.
Don't think I'm hanging around next time to find that out!!


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Worcester , Cape
Last month , we came onto a herd feeding next to the S26 . They were all feeding quietly except for one member who decided to show us who was the boss . Raised trunk , and flapping ears , he mock charged us a couple of times , then would retreat , backing into a bush , shake his head , and then again , make another mock charge .
Luckily for us , the rest of the herd seemed to ignore this whole incident , otherwise I think we could have been in real trouble . :pray: :pray:
This was really scary , and after taking a couple photographs , we " high-tailed " it out of there .

_________________
Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:58 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Worcester , Cape
And this is what he looked like :lol: :lol:

Image

_________________
Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:21 pm 
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With stories of people being blocked in by other cars, a few years ago a bull ellie was strolling towards us and we reversed for about 15min.
Eventually we reversed a long way and switched off hoping he would get bored with tormenting us.
Anyway while stopped there a double cab came next to us and we explained the situation,
There where 2 guys in it built like houses, looked like they knew the bush pretty well.
"Don't worry" they said, and drove on.
Well my S.O and I looked at each other and said "he obviously knows what he's doing".
We had no sooner started the car to follow and around the corner at a huge pace came this Bakkie in reverse.
He pulled up next to us and said "no kidding" and continued reversing.
We must have laughed for a good half hour, still in reverse of course. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:09 pm 
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Location: Busy planning my next trip
Weltenman wrote:
How do you guys deal with a elephant eating on the side of the road? I don't know what the best thing to do would be, do you try to sneak past, wait for the ellie to go into the bush? Try to scare it into the bush (probably the stupid thing to do... :shock: )


Seriously though, if he is on the side of the road minding his own business, you could pass by quietly on the other side.


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 Post subject: Re: Charging Elephants & evasive action! (Elephant Etiquette)
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:20 pm
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Location: Johannesburg
If you are the first at an ellie sighting, switch on the hazard lights when another vehicle approaches.

An interesting read for anyone about behaving near ellies can be found in "Beat About The Bush-Mammals" by Barnaby.


Sorry meant Trevor Carnaby not Barnaby!!!


Last edited by jungle jenny on Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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