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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. <br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
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. <br />
<br />
Where I normally cannot tell one elephant from the other, I have no problem recognizing this one. It&#039;s edged in my memory forever. I recognize it from the wart above its left eye (right on the photo).<br />
<br />
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&#039;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). <br />
<br />
Looking back at the sequence....<br />
<br />
Right after the first attack:<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/26398/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_the_calm_mother_and_her_baby.html" title="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - the calm mother and her baby"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/26398_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1620259210&Signature=hcyyKf2Yndx85FaCctBkPXnbNLY%3D" width="200" height="174" alt="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - the calm mother and her baby 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. <br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
This one concerns the mother as well as one of the two young elephants. The mother was calm during both attacks. As this one was after the first attack, it is almost as if she&#039;s telling us &quot;just leave&quot;.  Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa" /></a></figure><br />
The male, annoyed that we are still too close, gives a first warning:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/26404/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_the_warning_step.html" title="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - the warning step"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/26404_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1620259210&Signature=4T99l2LfOXbgY9bdWuaer5ULdYk%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - the warning step 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.<br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
In this scene, the male is clearly protecting the two young by blocking them from us. Not only that, it is making slow but firm step towards us, a first sign that we are considered a threat or nuisance. Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa" /></a></figure><br />
The male deciding whether to attack again:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/26405/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_deciding.html" title="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - deciding"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/26405_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1620259210&Signature=PLOg7%2BkJg8yOHbI%2FiG20uZfblVM%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - deciding 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.<br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
In this scene, the male is thinking of its options. Instead of us observing him, he observes us now.  Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa" /></a></figure><br />
The male, giving a last warning:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/26406/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_final_warning.html" title="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - final warning"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/26406_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1620259210&Signature=eBknnP5yqC5%2FTBeVVoVjIj%2BFaGw%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - final warning 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.<br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
In this scene, the male is giving a 2nd and last warning sign by flapping its ears. This would be a good moment to leave, but our engine was shut off, and it was already too late.  Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa" /></a></figure><br />
Silence before the storm:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/26399/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_introducing_the_bull_male.html" title="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - introducing the bull (male)"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/26399_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1620259210&Signature=qg2uHilWdzLae%2BEo8qiUXOLyxWA%3D" width="200" height="146" alt="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - introducing the bull (male) 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. <br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
This one concerns the male, moments after the first attack. He&#039;s still pissed of. I have no idea why we didn&#039;t leave or move away further after the first attack, it all happened so quickly. Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa" /></a></figure><br />
Full charge:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/26401/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_charge_two.html" title="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - charge two"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/26401_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1620259210&Signature=V15cZXOVMCRCdW47TgGI4xYz40c%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="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. <br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
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. <br />
<br />
Where I normally cannot tell one elephant from the other, I have no problem recognizing this one. It&#039;s edged in my memory forever. I recognize it from the wart above its left eye (right on the photo).<br />
<br />
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&#039;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). <br />
<br />
Looking back at the sequence....<br />
<br />
Right after the first attack:<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26398/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_the_calm_mother_and_her_baby.html<br />
The male, annoyed that we are still too close, gives a first warning:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26404/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_the_warning_step.html<br />
The male deciding whether to attack again:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26405/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_deciding.html<br />
The male, giving a last warning:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26406/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_final_warning.html<br />
Silence before the storm:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26399/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_introducing_the_bull_male.html<br />
Full charge:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26401/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_charge_two.html<br />
Happy ending:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26407/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_happy_ending.html Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa" /></a></figure><br />
Happy ending:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/26407/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_happy_ending.html" title="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - happy ending"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/26407_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1620259210&Signature=0vejBhNkiOqfNlbf39V0x7XhwCo%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Sri Lanka Elephant attack - happy ending 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.<br />
<br />
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&#039;ll share some.<br />
<br />
Here&#039;s one of the two young elephants that were so viciously protected, It seems totally unaware of what happened and is just going about its day in peace. As a positive reminder of a negative experience, we have this one printed out very large and hanging in our living room :) Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa" /></a></figure> Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

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:

Sri Lanka Elephant attack - the calm mother and her baby 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. <br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
This one concerns the mother as well as one of the two young elephants. The mother was calm during both attacks. As this one was after the first attack, it is almost as if she's telling us "just leave".  Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa

The male, annoyed that we are still too close, gives a first warning:

Sri Lanka Elephant attack - the warning step 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.<br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
In this scene, the male is clearly protecting the two young by blocking them from us. Not only that, it is making slow but firm step towards us, a first sign that we are considered a threat or nuisance. Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa

The male deciding whether to attack again:

Sri Lanka Elephant attack - deciding 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.<br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
In this scene, the male is thinking of its options. Instead of us observing him, he observes us now.  Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa

The male, giving a last warning:

Sri Lanka Elephant attack - final warning 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.<br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
In this scene, the male is giving a 2nd and last warning sign by flapping its ears. This would be a good moment to leave, but our engine was shut off, and it was already too late.  Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa

Silence before the storm:

Sri Lanka Elephant attack - introducing the bull (male) 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. <br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
This one concerns the male, moments after the first attack. He's still pissed of. I have no idea why we didn't leave or move away further after the first attack, it all happened so quickly. Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa

Full charge:

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. <br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
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. <br />
<br />
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).<br />
<br />
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). <br />
<br />
Looking back at the sequence....<br />
<br />
Right after the first attack:<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26398/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_the_calm_mother_and_her_baby.html<br />
The male, annoyed that we are still too close, gives a first warning:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26404/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_the_warning_step.html<br />
The male deciding whether to attack again:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26405/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_deciding.html<br />
The male, giving a last warning:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26406/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_final_warning.html<br />
Silence before the storm:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26399/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_introducing_the_bull_male.html<br />
Full charge:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26401/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_charge_two.html<br />
Happy ending:<br />
<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/26407/sri_lanka_elephant_attack_-_happy_ending.html Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa

Happy ending:

Sri Lanka Elephant attack - happy ending 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.<br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
Here's one of the two young elephants that were so viciously protected, It seems totally unaware of what happened and is just going about its day in peace. As a positive reminder of a negative experience, we have this one printed out very large and hanging in our living room :) Asia,Elephas maximus maximus,Sri Lanka,Sri Lankan elephant,Wasgamuwa

    comments (5)

  1. Fantastic series and story! :) My adrenaline was pumping just listening! :) Posted 6 years ago
  2. Wow Ferdy, scary. Unfortunately this kind of thing happens all too often; guides want their clients to have a good experience and will often get too close to the elephants and if they have young ones then it can spell big trouble. I am glad you survived! Yes, a lesson to be learned, tourists should tell their driver to back off. There was in incident in South Africa over the last couple of days and now it looks like the mother elephant and her calf will be moved which really is just not fair. People should have more respect for the wildlife and give them their space.
    Great set of photos and thanks for sharing this with us!
    Posted 6 years ago
    1. Thanks, Claire. In this case, I would not go as far as to blame it on the driver entirely:

      He could not help the sudden meeting itself, we came out of a corner with no sight ahead. However, he shut down the engine, which in hindsight is a mistake. That said, even after this attack in other parks we were equally close or even closer, all in perfect peace. So I think you're right, its the combination of the distance and the particular family situation at hand, or maybe a bull that was traumatized before.

      Either way, there's absolutely no need to get this close to elephants, also not for photography. They're large and we have zoom lenses, so totally avoiding it remains the best option.

      Regarding the 2nd attack, I do blame that on the driver. He should have just left the scene or moved much farther away. Both for the animal and his guests.
      Posted 6 years ago
  3. Terrifying story glad that you are safe. The very closeness of the elephant face can tell what one can feel in such a situation. It's great to see your camera work, great snaps shared. Good going. :) Posted 6 years ago
    1. Thanks, Sunil! Posted 6 years ago

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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

Similar species: Elephants
Species identified by Ferdy Christant
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By Ferdy Christant

All rights reserved
Uploaded Feb 12, 2015. Captured Nov 9, 2014 15:36.
  • NIKON D800
  • f/5.6
  • 1/400s
  • ISO640
  • 400mm