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Fear of elephants

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graemy
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Unread postby graemy » Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:36 pm

wildtuinman wrote:
graemy wrote:I think most of these last stories (although they are the real facts) are just going to make someone, who is already quite scared, completely terrified!!! Don't forget that each one of us that gives our opinion on this thread has already been to KNP and knows what it's like there. Here we are talking to someone who has never been there and might just imagine an irate ellie hiding behind each bush...


If you take into consideration that nearly 1,500,000 visit Kruger every year, it just shows how scarce these incidents are. But it also proofs that you shouldn't think that it could not happen.


I do agree with you WTM, but I think in this case the natural fear that comes through on "mathew's" post will prevent them from thinking "that it could not happen."
This is someone who is posting in order to be reassured so that they can enjoy their stay. I can hardly see them being unwary, uncautious and reckless. Giving the facts head on is definitely important, but I did find that several posters on this thread just came up with a few examples of terrifying attacks, without tempting to reassure.
These articles about attacks are very relevant and interesting, but do they belong on a thread where someone is just about wetting their pants just thinking about ellies? As I said, I think their own fear will keep them from being reckless...
:D
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graemy
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Unread postby graemy » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:03 pm

@ annalie. Great description!
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annalie
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Unread postby annalie » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:40 pm

graemy wrote:@ annalie. Great description!


Thanx Graemy. It comes from years and years of having a healthy fear and respect for elephants and reading up on them.

Mathews, that is correct, I am very afraid of elephants, but that has not stopped me from going back time and again to one of the most amazing places on earth, namely the KNP. My SO knows about my fear for ellies, so we normally just keep our distance from them. Then again, we have had ellies, less than 2-3 meters from our vehicle when passing them while they are feeding without any problems. In some of the camps e.g. Letaba, Skukuza, Olifants, Mopanie, Shingwedzi, Berg & Dal and Lower Sabie, you can watch them feeding from the safety of the camp where the camp has lookout points over rivers/dams.
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sandiem
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Unread postby sandiem » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:28 pm

Don't be scared Matthews........ Good common sense and patience, patience and more patience is what it takes.....

I know we waited for what seemed an age once when an elephant blocked our road and just wouldn't go, we backed up and he came towards us, we backed up again and waited, and waited............ He stood and flapped his ears at us, then stood and looked at us for what seemed an eternity!! He had all the time in the world and it occured to me at the time that we were going to have to play the same game.... at a safe distance ready at any time to beat a hasty retreat!!

We were lucky ........ there was only one other car next to us who had the good sense to do just the same and eventually our ellie got bored and moved off to the side of us.

We didn't take our eyes off him and we drove off pretty smartly without giving any indication of our discomfort!! Wouldn't want him to think we were scared!! :wink:

We have only been to the KNP twice before so I am definetely no expert!!! but that only happened on one occasion....... other encounters with elephants have been pretty uneventful and they have been numerous, except when we were once on foot on a bush walk but you then put all your faith in the ranger!!! and do as you are told without question!!! Quick!!!

Don't let your fear upset your gamewatching, do everything you have either read or have been told and your children will take home the most amazing special memories.

Happy gamewatching!!!

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Patto
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Unread postby Patto » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:29 pm

Hi,

A quick question, and maybe it has been answered elsewhere, why are the Kruger Ellies more "angrier" animals than say the Ellies of Addo for instance? I asked this question while on a night drive in April in Kruger and the guide couldnt give me an answer.

To put it into context, I was in Addo earlier this year, and a mother Ellie and her calf were next to the road. The baby was extremely small and I got a little nervous. I kept a bit of distance, but she and the calf walked close to my car. I monitored her mood the whole time and she remained calm. I was very surprised, and stood my ground, and she walked straight past my car. The baby came close, so close I could literally almost touch it!!! Now if I stopped near a Mommy Ellie in Kruger at the same distance I wouldnt be writing this post now, I would surely be flatter than pancake :lol:

Could it have something to do with culling that happened in Kruger in the past and the Ellies have remembered it? I know culling has never happened in Addo and this is the only thing that I can think of that has happened in Kruger but not in Addo that would cause Ellies to be "violent" towards people in their vehicles.

Your comments on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and kind regards,

Pat :D
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ndloti
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Unread postby ndloti » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:37 pm

Now witness their majesticity while on foot .
I have watched one , it was unaware of us , from across an erosion gully , so close we heard water running from his trunk into his throat .
I have had the priviledge of being charged while on foot . The ranger who should have fired the warning shot had his rifle jam , the second ranger fired his rifle and the elephant stopped about 20 metres from him . Fortunately we were timeously ordered to retreat which helped ensure our safety .
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Unread postby sandiem » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:41 pm

Thats a very good observation......... and question.

To put it down to culling though? I'm not sure about that, surely culling in say the North of the park would not affect elephants in the South..... they would be too far away.

Although I have read that elephants can communicate over long distances and maybe panic can spread right through the parks elephant population simply due to that reason.

Maybe someone will come up with some scientific facts?

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Unread postby annalie » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:57 pm

Patto wrote:Hi,

Could it have something to do with culling that happened in Kruger in the past and the Ellies have remembered it? I know culling has never happened in Addo and this is the only thing that I can think of that has happened in Kruger but not in Addo that would cause Ellies to be "violent" towards people in their vehicles.

Pat :D


Hi Pat, IMHO I don't think it has something to do with the culling of elephants. There were relentless persecution of elephants in the now Addo region by farmers and hunters shooting left right and centre. So much so, that in 1931, when the park was proclaimed, there were only 11 elephant left in Addo. It may also have something to do with the numbers of predators in the park, I don't know. But it has been said that predation on young calves when the opportunity arrises would account for the aggresive manner in which families containing young calves often react to lions and hyenas. The group's defense is employed against all potential predators, man included. The bond between mothers and offspring is very close and can endure for 50 years. Small calves remain in almost constant contact with their mothers (rarely more than 5 meters apart) and IMO the problem is when something come between the mother and the calve. Disturbed elephants undecided to stand their ground, will attack or flee. It is generally true that cow herds with small calves are most exiteable and dangerous. This is also applicable on rogue bulls that are suffering from injuries/abscesses
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Unread postby Patto » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:07 pm

Thanks very much for your response Annalie. I would definately agree with it. Very well thought out and well written. My reasons for culling was that it was the only thing that could come to mind, but your points are definately more valid and "scientific" :D so thanks very much! It is something to think about when visiting Addo in the future, specifically due to the introduction of the Lions and Hyenas in the last few years. Maybe next time I wont be so lucky.

Annalie, to ask you another question. On your post on the previous page, you said that when an Ellie means business he would extend his ears and charge. I have however heard that when an Ellie extends their ears its normally a mock charge, where they want to be as big and intimidating as possible in order to scare you off. When an Ellie really means business, his ears are flat against his sides and he comes charging at you with no intention of stopping. I may be wrong though, so you are more than welcome to correct me. As I said, this was based on something I heard and could be completely wrong.

Thanks once again :D

Pat
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Unread postby Toddelelfe » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:33 pm

I were charged from an bull near Letaba in 1994. It was very impressive. Luckily my wife was scared enough to shout to me to go back. I was to close. My fault.

I also watched a big herd near Skuks. A lot of babies so cute. Than i realized there are more and more ellies and coming very close to my car, i decide to go reverse. To late, in this moment ellies come out the bush behind me.

What to do? I was a little bit nervous, but tried to stay cool. Some of the older ladies had a look at me, but they all passed me in very cool and gentle style.

And in general, i think and noticed, that the ellies in Addo seemed to be more relaxed. When i parked, I think at Harpoor, they came from behind, the only way would be to drive into the water. I think, not the best idea. But they passed us and other cars so close and relaxed. It was an unforgettable moment.

But i am carefully at all game. A buff is also a big game.
:hmz: Thinking about the next trip :hmz:
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Unread postby annalie » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:39 pm

Hi Pat, what I am going to answer now, is under correction of what I have read and heard as well :lol: Spreading of ears and holding them tensely forward or even flapping them, is a characteristic sign of agonistic and arousal behaviour. But ellies also spread and flap their ears to regulate their temperature or simply to hear better, actions normally ignored by other elephants. However, if the elephant at the same time lifts his head high and spreading and flapping it ears, nearby members of his group would immediately react to this alert posture. The ears of charging elephants, as far as I know, are usually, but not always spread out to their full extend. A combination of posture and movements, together with sound usually make an elephant's feeling, if not his intentions,perfectly plain
(I have never stayed put to find out what the intentions of such an ellie were :redface: )
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Unread postby Patto » Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:12 pm

Thanks again Annalie for your reply. This topic got me thinking of a funny incident while I was in Kruger in April. I was driving on a tar road and came upon a car stopped in the road. Not seeing what he was, I pulled up next to him and he proceeded to tell me Elephants with the most fearful voice, which he pointed at and said thatt he wasnt getting any closer too. The funny thing was these Ellies were probably 50 to 60 meters away :lol: It was up a rise in the road and they were on the other side of it, you could barely see the tops of their heads. This guy must have had a really bad experience in the past cause he looked petrified. Im sure a lot of people are like this.

To be honest, Im not scared at all. I definately pay the Ellies the huge amount of respect they deserve, by monitoring their moods and keeping a safe distance and always keeping the car on. They are such graceful and peaceful animals and with the right treatment can be very entertaining. I was fortunate to see the new emerging tusker Madolo on the same trip. Observing the rules above, I was very fortunate and he came right up to my car very peacefully and fed not 5m from me.

The most important things with Ellies is to give them space. Rather let them come to you peacefully than you getting in their space and irritating them. Also importantly give yourself enough space to get out of a situation should it become tricky.

I hope this is helpful and doesnt cause anybody to be scared cause thats not what its about. One should be respectful, and understand that yes they can be "violent" (as illustrated earlier in the post), but with the correct actions this will never happen to you.

Kind regards,

Pat
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ndloti
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Unread postby ndloti » Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:22 pm

This was a peaceful one , not more than 5metres from the car on S33 .

Image
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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Unread postby The Jackal » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:16 pm

HI ALL.
NUTSHELL STUFF

Little bit late 2 contribute in this tread.

Wildtuinman: Ja, what you wrote to date is true - however, we ALL agree "aggro inclined ellies" is not a daily occurrence - its more the exception of the rule. :D

Wild@heart & annalie: Thx 4 y'r contribution. :dance:

2 date (since I'm registered) this was the most factual sense making inputs, and in some cases "scientifically identified behaviour" of ellies. :clap: :clap:

Thx 4 all 'mites advice. :D

SLOGAN WHEN IT COMES 2 ELLIES:" We 're not calling wildlife, wildlife 4 nothing! Be alert - Y'r a guest in their "home".

There is , however a very interesting documentary re older ellie bulls being translocated from KNP to Pilanesberg in order to control aggresiveness in younger bulls ". If y'r interested please try 2 get hold of this. GREAT STUFF!

M, no need 2 worry at all - please go and have a BLAST in the KNP!! Respect the ellies, and they wil respect you! Take my word 4 this one!

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Unread postby Bennievis » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:49 pm

Apparently when towing a caravan, elephants will approach from the front resulting in some fancy reversing manoeuvres to get out of the way.


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