Scary close encounter as elephant rolls bakkie, breaks part of tusk

2013-11-06 00:00

“MEU Deas, Meu Deus! (Oh my God, Oh my God!)”

These were the only words a visitor at the Maputo Elephant Reserve could utter in Portuguese after an angry elephant cow rolled his bakkie several times. The man, who wants to remain anonymous, sustained light injuries when the elephant cow attacked his large 4x4 bakkie.

He was alone in the bakkie when he visited the reserve on October 16. The reserve is in the Matutuíne district about 30 km south of Maputo near the inland lake Lagoa Maundo.

He said he was filming a herd of elephants, which included a few calves, from a distance.

On the film, he says “They are coming in my direction”.

A cow in the herd lifted her trunk, flapped her ears and then approached his bakkie.

She got so close that she scraped past his passenger side door. In an attempt to frighten them off, the panicky man decided to give the elephants an earful by pressing the vehicle’s hooter.

The next moment he almost got an earful of ivory as the cow smashed her tusks through the bakkie’s window and effortlessly flipped the vehicle on its side.

For the next 20 seconds, the video camera recorded only smashing noises. Such was the ferocity of her attack that she broke off a long section on one of her tusks.

The foot-long piece of ivory was discovered later in the bakkie’s cab.

Wildlife expert and a former game ranger Willem Botha said the cow was probably the herd’s matriarch.

“Because there were calves and perhaps because the bakkie was parked between two groups of the herd, she saw it as a threat.”

Nadav Ossendryver of the web page said it was always better to rather stay far from elephants because they are dangerous and unpredictable. But when this is impossible, a link on the wikihow website shows how to avoid a crisis situation. The link is on

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