Hungry elephant makes apple pie

2013-07-25 00:00

THE Dreyer family from Bothaville, Free State, got the fright of their lives when an elephant repeatedly tried to tip over their Toyota Fortuner in its quest for a bag of apples inside the vehicle.

They were setting up camp in the Moremi reserve in Botswana’s Xakanaxa camp when they noticed the elephant standing on its hind legs to reach dry berries high up in a tree.

“It was quite cute to start with. But we did not know he would soon smell our apples,” said Eduard Dreyer, a farmer from the Bothaville district.

His brother, Thomas, said the elephant then caught the scent of the apples and ambled over and snaked its trunk through an open window of the Fortuner.

When the elephant could not reach the bag, it tried to shake the fruit from the Fortuner, using one tusk to lift the vehicle at a 45º angle. A loaded Fortuner weighs almost three tons, but the elephant casually lifted it three times.

By this time the women and children had fled to the ablution block — where they also slept the night — as the brothers tried to scare off the peckish pachyderm with fire and thunder flashes.

It did not even flap an ear as it used its trunk to snake one apple after the other into its mouth. Then it found a bag of flour and, perhaps with thoughts of baking an apple pie in the heat of its stomach, hoovered up the contents so that the car was filled with a cloud of flour.

The elephant only decamped after 90 minutes.

The next day, it was back for more snacks. This time the Dreyers got the local game ranger to fire two shots over its rump, but the animal knew its rights in the reserve and calmly continued to sniff around.

When it returned on the third day, Eduard had enough and chased off the elephant with a mighty yell.

He said the elephant’s tusk had caused a fair amount of damage to the doors and roof of the vehicle, but they were able to drive it home.

“Only after the drama did the park’s management tell us visitors may not take any fruit into the park,” he said.

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