Elephants v people - what's going on?

2013-05-31 08:40

How not to treat an elephant

2013-05-29 12:47

Is our respect for wild animals at an all time low? Check out this video of yet another person aggravating an elephant. WATCH

There seems to have been a spate of incidents involving aggressive elephants in the Kruger National Park lately. 

In November 2012 an aggressive elephant bull charged and overturned a vehicle on the S25 road between Berg-en-Dal and Crocodile Bridge, leaving the two British tourists who were involved traumatized. In April this year, a Polish man was badly injured when an elephant overturned and trampled the car he and his Chinese partner were doing an early-morning self-drive game drive in.

And in a third incident, video footage taken in the park earlier this year shows two elephants fighting, followed shortly by one smashing a car window

Woah! What's going on?

While it can't be proved beyond a doubt, one can't help but wonder if bad human behaviour isn't an aggravating factor when it comes to these gentle, but emotional giants. 

The off-duty Singita ranger caught on camera charging an elephant in a reportedly drunken state immediately springs to mind. He realised the gravity of the incident shortly after the video made its way online and issued a sincere apology, taking full responsibility for his actions and defending the reputation of the Singita brand. 

And then there's the guy in the white bakkie, who thought it would be funny to play a little game of chicken with a huge pachyderm in the Kruger National Park recently. Fortunately he was also caught on camera and the video was posted to YouTube where it sparked an impassioned response from nature lovers. 

According to William Mabasa General Manager: Communications & Marketing for the Kruger National Park, authorities managed to track the perpetrator down thanks to the registration plate of his vehicle, which was clearly visible on the video.

"The guy is not a staff member and we have already given him a fine of R1 000 [on Wednesday] after he was tracked down and summoned to come and answer for his conduct," he said, also responding to rumours that the driver was in fact a staff member trying to push a problem animal back into the bush for visitors' safety.

He added that although it seems like elephant human-elephant conflict may be increasing, this is not the case. "It could just be that the social media is spreading these kind incidents more than before," he said. 

Reader response was practically unanimous in its contempt for such behaviour in a national park. 

Here are a few of the comments we received on the video:

Clint Skinner - May 29, 2013 at 13:29 His registration number clear CXS 294 MP, fine him... To enter the park one signs that animals have right of way etc etc. Make an example of him. Arrogant sod.

Jurie Groenewald - May 29, 2013 at 13:30 The man should be barred from visiting any National Park.

Monique Nutt - May 29, 2013 at 13:33 What an idiot, he should be named and shamed and should be banned from our country's national parks. Pity this bull did not show him who's boss.

Kim Viljoen Latimer - May 29, 2013 at 13:34 Wish the elephant had tipped his car !

Fatima De Souza Menezes - May 29, 2013 at 13:36 words can't explain what I'm thinking right now. What an absolutely stupid man. He was tormenting that poor animal, pity it wasn't aggressive enough to teach him a lesson. Hope this was reported and the powers that be ban him from visiting any park again.

Amber Rancic - May 29, 2013 at 13:59 Ooh, look at me, big man who can intimidate elephant in my big bad bakkie! What an absolute chop. He should be prosecuted. Also, if anyone sees this guy on the road, remember to give him a snotklap.

Warren Mudge - May 29, 2013 at 14:16 The actual horror here is that this poor animal will most probably vent its anger on an innocent victim, like the people in the small Renault sedan in the background in this video. Ten to one there will also be small children in the vehicle who will never again, out of fear, visit a Natoinal Park and then worst of all the elephant will have to be put down as it is now considered "rogue". Luckily the authorities have the reg no, so my fellow animal lovers this idiot morons days are numbered. Karma, she is a b#*ch.

Linda Theron Earl - May 29, 2013 at 14:59 Neanderthal! People like this give wild animals a bad name. Shame him, fine him and ban him. He is unworthy of being in their presence!

Peter Missing - May 29, 2013 at 15:04 I don't know about evolution, but devolution has been confirmed - but heck I see this kind of arrogance everyday on SA Roads.

Freddy van Rensburg - May 29, 2013 at 16:54 I cannot believe what I just saw. In a few days' time the elephant overturns another car and then gets shot for bad behavior. This person should be tracked down, fined, banned from entering any reserve again and be given community service, working with elephants.

Craig Ferguson - May 29, 2013 at 21:23 What was that idiot doing in a game reserve in the first place if he has such little respect for wildlife? I sincerely hope that the elephant doesn't end up paying the ultimate price for this imbeciles behaviour.

No doubt the drivers name will become known to the public eventually and then well see what a big tough guy he really is outside his bakkie.

Amazingly the elephant acted with dignity and restraint. Respect.



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