Elephants and Idiots

I don’t know about you, but I think the world is going a bit loopy at the moment.  Perhaps I should check out the phase of the moon because it’s usually the cause of people acting like lunatics.  I don’t often stand on a soap box and moan about the stupidity of some people, but when ignorant folks do things that directly harm animals and nature, then I feel strongly about it.

I blogged recently about lion hunting in South Africa because a lady visitor from America came here and bragged about shooting a magnificent lion for fun.  This week a British couple takes centre stage for their destruction of another of our Big Five animals, this time a beautiful bull elephant in Kruger National Park.  Admittedly they didn’t physically shoot the animal, but they were directly responsible for its death by not showing due respect.

Making at splash

As can be seen in the SkyNews video footage of their encounter with the elephant, the visitors were given a warning by the elephant when it turned to face them with its ears flapping.  This was a clear indication that the animal was not happy and it would be a good idea for them to remove themselves from the situation, which they had every opportunity to do.  They stayed put, however, and waited until seconds before the attack to attempt to move their car.  This only incensed the elephant more and they were shown in a no-nonsense manner what an angry elephant does when it rolled their car a number of times.  Fortunately they weren’t killed, but that can’t be said for the poor elephant as rangers shot it shortly afterwards for its perfectly normal behaviour when feeling threatened or annoyed.

I’m not saying that the elephant was threatened, but they react when humans come too close for comfort and their reaction is normal for an animal in the bush.  How absurd that it has to be shot for ambling innocently through its own bushveld territory to appease the tourist industry and future business for Kruger National Park.  I’m sorry, but this should never have happened.  Perhaps it’s a lesson for the authorities at Kruger to make foreigners watch the video upon entering the Park, or give them a pamphlet to read and sign so that the animals don’t need to be put down when humans do silly things in parks.

And down under we have our second lunatic of the week – an Australian man who jumped into the sea in a budgie cage to look at a great white shark.  The shark, that had been caught by fishermen and was able to swim alongside the boat, was probably in pain and enraged when it saw the human in its environment, and it came in for an attack.  Did the diver expect to be welcomed by the shark and left alone, and did he think that a flimsy budgie cage was any measure against the powerful jaws of a great white shark?

In South Africa people can view great white sharks from a heavily reinforced cage that is lowered into the water, but the sharks that are viewed are not captured and injured first and the people can do this in relative safety.

When are we going to learn to leave animals alone and let them live in peace without being harassed by humans?  Wild animals are just that – wild animals – and that is their beauty.  Why do we have to go into their domains and ruin everything for them and for all the other nature lovers who just want to enjoy God’s creatures in their natural environment?  Come on humans, we are supposed to be the one’s with brains and intelligence!

8 thoughts on “Elephants and Idiots

  1. Bobbi

    I saw the video and was amazed at how many times the elephant warned them, even stepping off to the side of the road… I was afraid it was the elephant who would pay the price for their stupidity, but I’m still sorry to hear it.

    Reply
    1. Wilkinsonsworld

      Yes Bobbi, they were given ample opportunity to move on. Perhaps because they were foreigners they didn’t understand the signals or the situation they were in. Unfortunately is cost the elephant its life. How sad.

      Reply
      1. Chris Card

        I too have seen people do unforgivable things close to elephants, but there is more to this story than your text suggests.

        The girl was driving the hire car and her S African fiancee, who usually drove, was passenger. In trying to back away from the elephant, she selected first gear instead of reverse and, inadvertently, moved towards the animal, further annoying it. Her fiancee found reverse for her and she attempted to turn the car round, panicked, and stalled the engine while side on to the elephant, which by now was at the car. We know what happened after that.

        The S Africans who filmed the event then left the scene and did not return to help in any way. The bit of video footage that they put on YouTube was heavily edited and did not tell the whole story. It was some time before another car came by. The girl was badly gored had a fractured pelvis and was lucky to survive. They were told later that the elephant had an infected wound from a previous fight, so was especially touchy.

        It seems that it was more a case of inexperience, bad luck, and a chain of unfortunate events, rather than the tourists being thoughtlessly provocative. Unfortunately these things do happen from time to time and sometimes you unexpectedly meet an angry elephant.

        Chris Card
        UK & Windhoek, Namibia.

        Reply
        1. Wilkinsonsworld

          Thanks Chris for your explanation. Its good to know the real story. We are in Kruger now and have seen a number of folks driving too close to Ellie’s and scaring babies.
          I must say that the video has now made us even more cautious around them.
          I hope you and Liz are enjoying some quality time in Africa. If not, come back soon.

          Reply
          1. Chris Card

            Enjoy your time in Kruger – we are in the sodden UK, but get back to Nam on 26th March.
            You and I know that if you watch the elephant’s body language it will normally tell you how you should act, but I guess that not many tourists understand that. Sometimes, however, elephants don’t give you any warning, so you must always be careful. Above all else, you shouldn’t surprise them.
            As you know, at Puros camp, the toilets are hidden inside large clumps of salvadora. One afternoon, Liz came out of the toilet just as a cow elephant came round the end of the bush, about 20m away. It got a surprise and immediately charged. Liz just made it back into the toilet to hide and the elephant skidded to a halt a couple of metres away. We didn’t know the elephants had come into camp and the cow had a calf on the other side of the bush. Later that year, an Italian tourist was killed, also while in Puros camp, when he ran round a bush and into the path of an elephant. Quite likely the same animal that charged Liz and, sadly, it had to be shot.
            The moral is, walk, don’t run through the bush, and let the elephant know that you’re there before coming too close to it.

            Chris

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