Sri Lanka Elephant attack - charge two
Those that have read our travel report from Sri Lanka have read how we were attacked by a large male bull whilst in a jeep in Wasgamuwa. It was a full force head-on charge, that went very quickly, yet gave us the time enough to consider it could be our last moment. Luckily, the bull stopped only 1m in front of our jeep, due to 2 guides in the jeep distracting the elephant with hand signals and lots of shouting.
As the attack took us of guard, we have no pictures of it. Surprising enough, a 2nd attack followed whilst we were still recovering from the 1st. This time I did snap a few, so hereby I'll share some.
This is the 2nd charge in full action, several tons of animal speeding towards us over a very short distance of about 20m. Having been through this experience just minutes before, this time I managed to snap this one, meanwhile hoping that it would end just like the 1st attack: with the male backing of at the last moment. I was as scared as during the 1st attack, but figured I could not control my faith anyway, so I might as well shoot a few.
Where I normally cannot tell one elephant from the other, I have no problem recognizing this one. It's edged in my memory forever. I recognize it from the wart above its left eye (right on the photo).
Note that I do not share this to glorify the experience. We felt very bad about both incidents and have no intention to provoke animals. I'm documenting this to share a lesson learned, to show warning signs, to recognize behavior and better yet, to prevent it altogether by observing from further away (tell your driver).
Looking back at the sequence....
Right after the first attack:
The male, annoyed that we are still too close, gives a first warning:
The male deciding whether to attack again:
The male, giving a last warning:
Silence before the storm:
The Sri Lankan elephant is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to Sri Lanka. Since 1986, ''Elephas maximus'' has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is pre-eminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.
''Elephas maximus maximus'' is the type subspecies of the Asian elephant, first described by Carl Linnaeus under.. more