- Recently, there have been some videos on the internet that have surfaced about various elephant encounters. In one instance, a Thai tourist was visiting the Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary when he came across a sight that would petrify most of us. Watch the video as Tor Bowling stands his ground against a mighty elephant, raising his hand to halt the animal.
- As you can see, Tor puts aside his fears and follows proper instruction on what to do in case an elephant charges at you. Elephants weigh 15,000 lbs, more than 5 times that of a Honda Civic! Still, experts advise never to run from an elephant (he'll probably catch you) and to hold your ground. Raise your arms and yell loudly to let them know you aren't afraid.
Is This a Real Charge or a "Mock" Charge?
- Can you tell whether this is a mock charge or a real charge? Note the gestures of the elephants ears and trunk.
How to Tell the Difference Between a Mock Charge and a Real ChargeMock Charge
- Most charges are mock charges. These are done to make a threat. The elephant is letting you know that you are making them uncomfortable. "Back off."
- An elephant will mock charge to test you, seeing if you are aggressive or something that should not be considered a threat.
-Sometimes an elephant may be unsure whether to charge or not. When this happens, they will twitch their trunk fr and swing it from side to side.
- Biologist Dr. George Schallar discovered that elephants exhibit "displacement activities." Dr. Schallar found that the more elephants exhibited "displacement activities, the more likely the animal was reacting out of fear and was less likely to charge.
- Key Signs: Ears will be fanned out. Trunk may be swinging from side to side.
- Trunk curled inward and ears tucked back, this fellow is coming after you!
- Real Charge
- During a real charge, the elephant is charging at you in an attempt to defend itself. This is a very dangerous situation to be in.
- An elephant can run at speeds estimated at 35-40kmph! That's 25mph!
-Usain Bolt won the 2012 Olympics 100m dash in a record setting 9.63 seconds. As the fastest man in the world, his speed was measured at 37.383kmph. Unless you think you can outrun Usain Bolt, you won't have a chance outrunning an elephant.
- Key Signs: Ears will be pinned back flat against the elephants head and the trunk will be curled inward. With these signs, a real charge is imminent.
How to Avoid an Elephant ChargeIt's important to remember, we are in their territory! Because of this, it pays to remember common courtesy. Elephants are animals with emotions just like humans. Here are a few things to keep in mind when coming into contact with wild elephants.
- Elephants are not naturally aggressive. They do not want to harm you. Instead they just want to be left in peace.
- Do not invade their space. Give them approximately 30-40 metres of space. Just like humans, they are uncomfortable and can feel threatened when you invade their personal space. Always allow them to have and open route and do not corner them.
- Always give the elephant the right of way.
- Always remain in your vehicle. and do not rev your engine or try to drive past them at full speed. This will only aggravate the animal and increase the likely hood of a charge.
Seek a Guided Elephant TourElephants are distinguished as Asian and African Elephants. These two species are prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Kruger National Park is the renowned destination for elephant sightings with dedicated "watch camps" like this one where visitors can enjoy the natural scenery, taking in the sights and sounds of the open wilderness .