What to do around Elephants

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wacktazz
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by wacktazz »

I learned a trick from our ranger few years back. I was so sacred of them as well. Would stop 100m plus from them. Untill i was in the car with said ranger and got surrounded by ellies. And naturally nothing happened. I am talking about them sniffing and touching the car.
The trick for me is to read their body language. One on mast is almost always a no-no. Very short tempered and moody. Also never get in between a mother and calve. Unless your mother in law is with you. But in general, read their body language. I cant tell you exactly what to look for but I can tell you that we have one big bull frequently at our house in skukuza and I have stood next to this monster of 3m plus many times. Once as close as 2m, without me knowing it at that time
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Grantmissy
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

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:doh: Alleycat I rather do not want to encounter a bull elephant advancing on me. We had a few :shock: encounters with grumpy bulls on the Mahonie Loop at Punda Maria but I would rather not be stepped on by any of them with the consequences as Wacktazz put it :pray:
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Dabchick
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by Dabchick »

I agree with Wacktazz. One can usually see from the body language when you can stick your ground and when you must be submissive and reverse a little bit.

I usually have few problems with elephants (touch wood)...as I'm not excessively scared of them and "think" :shock: I'm fairly good at reading their body language, so whenever I'm behind the wheel, we'll get all these good-natured elephants that are a breeze to pass by and walk off the road when we're still hundreds of meters away.

Naturally, whenever my sister (who usually stops breathing the moment she spots an elephant a km away in the road) is driving, we'll get the stubborn bull (or around Shingwedzi... cow), who absolutely won't let us pass :wall: :wall: :wall:. I have to tell her when to stop, when to reverse, how fast to go, when to go forward... (and to breath so that she don't pass out behind the wheel :roll: ). So the conversation usually goes like this:

me: that elephant looks fairly calm, go forward slowly...
sister: (busy reversing)... but he's flapping his ears!
me: that's because he's hot. stop reversing, go forward slowly
sister: (still reversing). okay
me: other "reverse"
sister: (finally stopping, and hesitantly changing gears) okay (tremulously...)

So we'll creep forward at about 1 km/hour.

me: a little faster is okay
sister: (still going 1km/hr, slowing to a stop...) okay
me: (sigh). okay, just wait right here. Breath. when he's right next to the car, slowly pull forward and get away
sister: (switching to reverse gear): okay
me: put the car in first..


and so forth! It's a mission I tell you :wall:
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

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I have been in Hwange NP with a researcher and sat on top of the cab of her bakkie in the late afternoon as around 400 hundred elephant in groups of 50 or so wandered past within feet of us and the car over a couple of hours. Because I trusted her judgement and experience in telling me to just sit quietly and relax, after the first few tense moments, it was magical :dance:
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by kujo »

I'm normally more worried about he other cars around me than the elephants... Last October while in the park I made a judgement call to stop about 80 metres from a herd of elephants which seemed quite relaxed and were walking towards us. Anyway to cut a long story short about 8 cars were eventually behind me and in the rear view mirror I could see this Toyota Yaris aggressively passing each car to get closer. By now the Elephant herd was about 10 metres from my car and about to cross the road, this Yaris sped up next to me which upset this cow who was now in the road. She turned around a started flapping her ears at us. I was now boxed in between this Yaris and the bush and these elephants right in front of us. Unfortunately the people in the car didn't understand me when I started to give them a mouthful (or fortunate for the language I used) about the dangerous situation they had placed my family in.... :wall:
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by kids@camping »

To reverse with a car alone is fine, but when you are towing a caravan, it becomes difficult. Bets advice we've got was to close all windows, sit still (dont make any sudden movements) and you will be fine.
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by Goggo EJ »

Towing a caravan is definitely the way to learn how to cope with ellies!!!! You cannot reverse, so have to learn how to 'tough it out'.

Ellie walking slowly towards you......sit quiet, and you will be fine. Stop far enough away that he can see you and decide on his own path - he will quite likely leave the road just before reaching you, although he may continue to walk past close to the car. Remember windows closed, engine off, and no sudden movements to attract attention. Make sure you leave plenty of room for ellie to pass so it does not feel crowded in.

Big group of ellies - try to stop on one side of them - either before, or go through slowly and quietly as possible and stop past them. That way your exit is easier if necessary.

Ellie feeding or standing close to the road......stop with space to spare, and watch. If signs are that it is relaxed then slowly move forward. If at any time it stops and turns towards you then stop and sit it out, or turn round and find another route! Do not continue to approach an ellie that shows clearly it is aware of your presence and does not want you to come closer yet.
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by ggreensill »

Very good advice from ecojunkie.

For me it all depends on the situation
There will always be some sort of sign that the elephant will give you as to whether they are comfartable with your presence or not. Things that you need to look for include the very familiar head shake, the tail standing very straight, raised head with ears out to make the animal look as big as possible, trumpeting.

My advise would be to approach causiously at first, then take your lead from the animal.
Large bulls can also be bullies and most often standing your ground will cause them to move off. by reversing the animal realises its dominance and continues continues with its game until it gets bored or the vehicle stands its ground.
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by Bush Baptist »

I have had a few run ins with eles, and a good few reversings.

Once on a night ride, we came across a bull in musth on the road. The guide immediately revved and moved forward in thusting movements, confronting the ele, which turned to the side and ran off.

I asked the guie about the incident after the drive and he told me that his sggressive behaviour caught the bull off guard and he ran for it, otherwise the bull would have been dominant in the situation. When I asked what if it didn't work, I was told we would have been in for a lot of fast reversing.

I am not recommending this, I will still reverse and reverse......
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

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Reading through the encounters I just have to deal our experience down at Biyamiti with the mites. It was during Sept 2010 when we stayed at Biyamiti. We toook the dirt road the morning towards CB. Most will know that the road has a lot of ups and downs. As we went uphill once more, there was a few ellies left of us in the bush with (I think it was the matriarch) about 3 meters off the road at the top of the hill, busy eating. I went forward and came to a stop approximately 15 meters from her and SO started taking pic's of her. There was a guy in a landy about 30 meters behind us. The next moment, without any signes or warning started to charge :shock: . I reacted quickly and reversed downhill at a rate of knots but she still closes the cap. Thankfully the guy behind also retreated to make way. The next moment she stopped (maybe becuase it was downhill for her) and stared at us. At that point in time it looked as if me and SO was in summer clothing on the North pole the way we shivered :big_eyes: . She on the other hand quietly turned anround and moved back up the hill and went into the bush to the right. The next moment a car arrived from the other side, stopped next to her to take pic's and then moved on passed us. We could not believe our eyes. I began to proceed up the hill again, however when we got to about 5 meters from her she charged again. This time around I was still moving and just put my foot down. I could see her in the rearview mirror, standing in the road again :evil: . Later met up with the guy in the landy and she also did nothing to him. Wonder till today what the reason for her charging us had been? From that day onwards I keep well clear of any ellie close or in the road!!
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Goggo EJ
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by Goggo EJ »

The tone of some car engines does irritate ellies for some reason.

Also the shape of your vehicle may cause a sudden flash of light reflection which irritates them.

If you get one aggressive response then don't try to go forward again.
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by p@m »

OK -- so what do you do with the ellie with time on his hands when you don't have time on your side ? You know the one -- he stands with his head in a bush, bum in the road about 4 km from Satara, Berg 'n Dal, Malelane gate -- you get the idea :)

Move forward -- flapping ears and raised trunk :shock: Reverse and wait. Try again -- more aggro from the ellie :shock: (who is probably grinning into the bush at this stage)

The queue gets longer and no-one can get past. Eventually a few brave (or foolhardy) types try to push past and get screamed at along with the raised trunk & flapping ears. Upset ellie and going-to-be-late visitors = frayed nerves all round :shock:

Eventually he gets bored with his game and walks off leaving mayhem behind him.

Now how are you supposed to deal with him ?
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Goggo EJ
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by Goggo EJ »

Just wait! And hope an official vehicle comes along and can 'persuade' him to move off. Unfortunately these are usually younger bulls asserting their dominance over something.....probably unable to do so over their peers or older ellies!

As I said earlier, once aggression is shown don't provoke the ellie again - it might just get worse.
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by Orange »

Haven't had too close a call in Kruger with Ellies, but had a bit of a moment in Addo at the one waterhole. A whole family of elephants (we estimate over 50) decided to come drink, and a couple of them decided to go walk on the road nearby. I was at the back of the group of cars watching, and at the first sign of aggro I would've been out of there. But the Isuzu bakkie at the front of the queue was VERY close to the ellies, and when we spoke to them later they were still a bit shaken by how close they'd been!

Elephants are fairly cute from a respectful distance, but from about 2m from your front bumper? A fair bit intimidating!
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Re: Bull Elephants Advancing on your car

Unread post by Goggo EJ »

I have been in the middle of an angry herd of ellies - awesome experience. We had passed the herd, and a short while later found mating lions. We stopped to watch the lions and did not realise the ellies had come up behind us. The next thing they were screaming, trumpeting, etc and running around us as they smelled and then chased the lions. It all happened so fast, and was such an incredible experience we forgot to use our cameras!

Not only were we unharmed - but so was the car both inside and outside......
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