Elephant Safety Tips

I was reading of yet another unfortunate elephant incident in India:

“According to the forest officer’s account, the elephant was crossing the road when the car reached the spot. The family of three which was moving in the car tried to drive the jumbo away. Their efforts — blaring of horns and flickering dipper — were enough to agitate the animal which in a fit of rage flipped the car.” Article at the link below.

Result – another needless death.

Put yourself in the place of the elephant.  You come from a world in which animals assert dominance over one another by threat displays and physical dominance.  As you are about to cross the road, (and being a bull, you would like to do this on your own terms), a small noisy creature (the car, and passengers) appears all of a sudden and starts making threats at you.  Just being nearby can be a threat, if an animal is not expecting you and is used to having a large personal space around itself.

Or, imagine how you would feel if you were in the middle of the road and someone appears to want to run you over.  You would be upset, particularly if you’ve got children with you. This is not much different from the elephant’s reaction.

So what should you do?  If you can, reverse slowly and give the animals space to get across the road.  Keep a respectful distance of 5 elephant body lengths.  Don’t try to rush them – consider it a traffic jam.  Better to be late to wherever it is you’re going than to never get there at all.

DO NOT rev your engine.  Better, turn off the engine.  Breath slowly, stay calm, and let them pass.  You might even enjoy it.

Read more: Tusker tramples old woman on highway – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Tusker-tramples-old-woman-on-highway/articleshow/7079805.cms#ixzz1882i8Aw1

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About asianelephant

Promoting understanding of Asian elephant behavior, evidence-based conservation, and the coexistence of people with wildlife and wilderness.
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