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 Post subject: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:37 pm 
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I have heard contradictions regarding the role that the vehicle you travel in plays when a big animal do decide to charge your vehicle.
Some say it plays no role whilst others say that neutral colored low noise vehicles (also from the passengers) are better than brightly colored ones.
Some say that Kruger animals are in general used to vehicles and that the noise coming from it will normally not aggravate them to an extend that it charges.
It is rather an agitated or animal that feels threatened or need to protect their young that will charge and the color of your vehicle and whatever noise coming from it does not play a role.
Difficult to say what is more advisable.

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:45 pm 
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Noisy vehicles do irritate me so I am sure in the case of elephants that noisy vehicles do irritate and provoke charges .

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Its the noise rather then the colour or size
They aircon for eg.

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:09 pm 
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aircon... :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Fortunately we don't have tsetse flies any more, but what I can tell you is that tsetse flies are attracted to dark, moving objects.
From my experience in Kafue National Park, I can honestly say that these insects can differentiate between different colours.
Whilst my blue coloured vehicle was overwhelmed by the flies, the other white coloured vehicles were more or less left alone.

As far as our animals are concerned, it is a very good guess.
IMHO, it is not the type or colour of vehicle that will provoke anger, but whether you invade their personal space or not.
Animals will size up their adversaries before they charge.
That is why a mild mannered elephant will more easily charge than a cantankerous buffalo.

I agree with Ndloti, some of the older diesel engines, like the Isuzus, are a real pain in the bum, especially if you are sitting at good sighting and this cluttering diesel arrives.

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Last edited by Rooies on Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:02 pm 
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I disagree Rooies, we visited Kasanka National Park and our White Bakkie was covered with Tsetse flies (I have photos of them all over the vehicle), they "travelled" with us for about 10kms to the camp!

We were given two cans of insectiside at the entrance and as we arrived at the camp, the rangers took the cans sprayed the car completely before we could get out..

However the car that was overturned in Pilansberg recently was White? maybe they have colour memory for some reason and individual Ellies go for their pet colour hate? :hmz:

Interesting topic 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:31 pm 
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IMHO , it depends a lot on conditions/situation where the animal is at the time .
Approaching very slowly and carefully and quietly tends to upset animals much less than when arriving in a sudden rush .
Revving motors and aircon do make animals much more wary .
If the animal is down-wind from your vehicle, he will also be more wary , and continue to keep an eye on you , and even suddenly decide to leave/run off .

I have noticed that diesel motors seem to be more " acceptable " provided that they are not too noisy .
And I think that petrol engines are maybe less acceptable , perhaps because it usually goes together with a racing loud airconditioner fan .

Colour ? Maybe , but since animals are supposed to be colour-blind , I do not think colour plays any role , but rather movement and noise .

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:14 pm 
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IMHO and experience the car does make a difference. It seems as if elephants associate a silver coloured Pathfinder for another elephant. :twisted: At the loop road around Punda Maria, while driving slowly we suddenly heard the trumpetting of a elephant coming from the bush and had no time even to look at it. Just got out of his way. Near Mopani the same thing happened. My SO spotted an elie about 100 m from the road and wanted to take a :cam: . I stopped, but the next command was drive and drive fast its charging us. :big_eyes:

Is there any other Pathfinder owners with the same experience?

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:17 am 
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One morning on 8 April 2006 an elephant bull overturned a vehicle between Phalaborwa gate and Letaba camp. Apparently the occupants of the car watched the elephant from a distance with their car switched off. Perhaps a previous bad experience involving a vehicle aggravated the elephant when he saw the car standing in the road. I also think a buffalo has considerable strength. One morning we left Talamati camp and when we came round a curve on the gravel road we were suddenly surrounded by buffaloes although we saw some of them along the way scattered further in the veld. We were very wary and a bit on pins and needles as we could see their strength close up and they were completely blocking the road and there was really nowhere to move. We just kept as quiet as possible. I think they can cause considerable damage to a vehicle if provoked and it is only a relative thin piece of metal between you and them. I do think with the increasing number of visitors the visitors should also increasingly try to minimize their impact whilst driving through Kruger and be as quiet as possible as their behavior and actions may cause a wild animal to become aggressive towards them or a next vehicle. Some visitors may not even have the basic knowledge or experience of what to do in the event of being surrounded by wild animals.

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:48 am 
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I have seen passive elephants react aggresively when a vehicles engine or fan starts .
One assumes they can associate noise with certain shapes , but can they distinguish colours ... ?

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:16 am 
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I suspect that noise or smells from the vehicle are more of a factor than colour.
But then what makes an elephant knock down one tree and not another????
There may actually be no real answer - but some things which are more likely to provoke an attack like noisy fans, radios playing, food smells from car, etc.

It is also possible that cars being metal with shiny windows suddenly provide a shiny glint which catches the elephant's eye - or even temporarily blinds him like a flash and that upsets him.

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Talking about behaviour, I have read that when the culling was started, the elephants quickly figured out that the noise of the rotor blades of a helicopter meant danger.
When they heard the sound of an approaching helicopter, they started to panic and run away in the opposite direction.
I think elephants are more clever than what we give them credit for.

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:53 pm 
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DuQues wrote:
Ah! You met one of the two ellies on Mahoni loop! Fun aren't they? :lol:
They attack any car, no matter what size or colour, including the nightdrive vehicle. I know, met both, in two different vehicles.
Those two are from Zim, and have been in contact with poachers there, so there relationship with humans is far from friendly.


Yes it was indeed on the Mahoni loop. :wink:
After leaving the elephant behind we came across 4 illegal immigrant (3 females and a teenager boy) walking down the road where we picked up leopard tracks.
Another tourist with a bakkie took them back to the ranger at Punda Maria.
They told him that their husbands were killed by elephants somewhere along the main power line running from Mozambique to SA. :big_eyes:

It is indeed true that the elephants up north can be more aggreSsive due to contact with poachers. :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:22 pm 
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bert wrote:
The nearly would be charges i witnessed were either by a cow with calf or a bull in musk
More related to testeron or protection.
Not about colour, size,smell etc.

100% correct Bert, a cow with calf focuses on protecting that small one and a bull in musth is just plain dangerous, but remember their agression is in response to being threatened or not being given enough space at the time, and a bull in musth needs a loooooot of space.
Incidents of aggresion where none of the above 2 obvious signs are apparent could be that the animal is associating what he hears or smells with a previous incident, in my opinion colours don't come into play.


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 Post subject: Re: Animal charges – does your vehicle play a role?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:54 pm 
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Let's widen this subject a bit, it's quite an experience to see a KNP elephant's reaction when a helicopter passes overhead.
They definitely do have a negative reaction to the heli noise.
Last year at Balule we saw an ellie's reacting to the noise even before we heard or saw the heli.
He did not turn on our white bakkie ;) but turned around and it seemed as if he wanted to look up at the sky.
In this case the heli was low flying.
Scrambler motorbike noise also irritates them more than cars (hearsay)
Does anyone know about the opinion that the knp ellies have passed/taught to their calf's the fear of helicopters (associated with culling)?

I agree that incidents happen when a few factors culminate. i.e. musk, fright, noise, irritation, territory (herd) protection.

There's always the possibility of innocent attack i.e. Rhino bumped into a car "attacking car" in the meantime just didn't see the car.

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