WATCH: Elephant destroys vehicle with tourist in Maputo Game Reserve

2016-07-05 13:30 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - Video footage and photographs showing a massive elephant charging and rolling a vehicle in Maputo Game Reserve in Mozambique has gone viral on social media. 

The video shows the elephant from afar first, as it starts running towards the foreigners in a double-cab bakkie. Then, as the elephant reaches the vehicle, things take a turn for the worst. The foreigner in the car can be heard saying "Ai jai jai" before his bakkie is rolled by the elephant. 

The footage was first uploaded to Facebook by Rudie Swanepoel on Monday, 4 July. Swanepoel shared the video and photos with the caption, "Not to be taken lightly….ever!!"

It has since been shared more than 230 times. 

Check it out here (NOTE: the video was uploaded to Facebook in portrait view, despite being filmed in landscape): 

Photos after the incident show the bakkie with broken windows, full of dents and dirt. A piece of the elephant's tusk also broke off during the skirmish, and now serves a scary souvenir of how close the driver of the vehicle came to being trampled by the elephant completely. 

The driver survived the attack, but it is unknown what the extent of his injuries are. 

According to Dr Marion Garai, chairperson of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group (ESAG), there are various ways to see whether an elephant's charge is serious. 

Garai gives the following tips for people who find themselves in a threatening situation with an elephant: 

Determining if it's a mock or real charge

- Most charges are "mock" (threat) charges, the elephant is pretending to charge but is actually testing you out to see if you're aggressive or a non-threat. 

- Watch the elephant's ears. If an elephant's ears are relaxed, he is probably making a mock charge. Ears that are fanned out are indicative of a mock charge.

- If the elephant's ears are pinned back flat, it is likely that the charge is real. This will often be accompanied by a trunk that is curled inward.

- Listen for warnings. You're likely to hear trumpeting of a warning from the elephant.

 - Look for displacement activities. There are some other indicators of an elephant working out whether to charge or retreat. These include a twitching trunk and swinging one leg to and fro. The biologist responsible for discovering this, Dr George Schallar, realized that the more pronounced these "displacement activities", the more likely the elephant was making a threatening show out of fear and had no intention to really charge.

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