Humans gun them down for ivory, keep them in zoos and make them perform tricks in circuses. But there’s no question that when on their native turf, elephants are in charge.
One bull elephant proved its power over humankind quite decisively on Monday when it flipped a tourists’ car as easily as a pancake in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The incident was photographed by Vasti Fourie, a tourist driving behind the car in question when the massive pachyderm approached the vehicle. Her pictures show the harrowing scene as it unfolded: the elephant emerges from the brush and then looms behind the white Chevrolet Aveo hatchback, which had stopped when the elephant appeared.
“It charged towards the side of the car, lifted it up with its tusk, dropped it on its roof and calmly walked away,” Fourie told IOL news. Pictures taken after the attack show that the elephant also gored the car, leaving a giant hole where it jammed its tusk through the metal door, which gave way as easily as a sheet of aluminum foil. (Check out IOL news and The South African to see the pictures.)
After the attack, the driver climbed out of the white Chevrolet Aveo and kneeled down. Others tourists came to his aid, and a doctor who had been airlifted to the scene attended to him before he was transported to a hospital.
The elephant later flipped another car carrying two passengers fifty yards away from the first incident. A spokesman for the park told IOL news that “elephants can be very dangerous when they feel threatened.”
The elephant rampage was the second animal incident to happen in the park this week. A few days before, a German woman was sustained light injuries to her ankles and ribs after she and a group of tourists encountered a white rhino mother and her calf. The rhino charged and was shot at by park rangers, who wounded her. The rangers are now tracking both the rhino and the elephant to determine the extent of their injuries.