19 May 2013

Of fools and elephants.

While standing at Zuurkop yesterday, which is one of the places at the Addo Elephant National Park where you are allowed to alight from your vehicle, I was not surprised to see this car in the distance, with a fellow sitting on the roof. It happens all the time.

He obviously saw noting wrong with what he was doing and happily continued to ride on the roof even though someone we met at Zuurkop, had earlier warned him not to do so.

As if riding on the roof was not stretching the boundaries the group decided to leave their vehicle and I am not sure if they were aware of the elephants in the bush alongside the car or not. I did not notice them when I was taking the pics, but I did notice the lass in the maroon top make a quick dash back to the car.

In the next shot the fellow is quite aware of the elephant and decides to have an up close and personal photo shoot. Fortunately for him and his pals the incident did not turn ugly, but if it had it would have been everyone's fault but their own.

The result of an elephant attack would have probably seen the elephant being hunted down and culled; Addo would have been given a bad name internationally, as a tourist destination; and tighter rules would be imposed, which would spoil the park experience for the law abiding visitors.

If these characters ever saw the aftermath of a car recently destroyed by an elephant at the Kruger National Park, I wonder if they would have still been so cavalier about climbing out of their car, to photograph the elephant.

One of the basic rules at all the South African national parks is to remain in your car....and that means being completely inside your car. The reasons for this are obvious....there are many animals that can be aggressive and dangerous, when provoked or given the opportunity, but this truth does not seem to penetrate the minds of some visitors to the national parks, who quite openly flaunt the rules.

Aside from remaining in your car common sense dictates that you show the animals some respect, especially the elephants, because if they decide to turn on you there are no prizes for guessing who will win. Google "elephant attacks kruger national park" and see what I mean.

The Addo elephants are generally very placid and I do not know of any incidents where they have up-ended a car or attacked a person, but that does not mean that we must become complacent, because there can always be a first time. Sue and I have come across some very aggressive males in musth, where we decided discretion is the better part of valour and respected their space. We are after all on their turf and the Park should not be treated as a petting zoo.

There is no excuse for this type of thoughtless behaviour, or should I say stupidity.

We did report the incident, including the cars registration number to the staff of duty, but I do not know if there was any follow-up action or not.


Firefly said...

UNEXCEPTABLE. These people are very irresponsible and like you say, if something happened to them its everybody but their own faults.

shabby girl said...

Max, I have to say that when we were in South Dakota at Bear Country Park, I kept my window down to take better photos. A loud voice over the intercom told us to put our windows up!
I was that naive patron that just wanted a better picture. But towards the middle of the park, I "got" why those rules are in place. My Bad!
Wild animals/humans. Even if we humans come out on top, they will suffer. Nothing like that happened, but I understood at that point that THEY may be the ones to suffer.
Thanks, Max!

Judy said...

Idiots are found all over the world... My daughter said she has seen a crowd of tourists encircling a bull elk, trying to get his photo... Unfortunately, if these idiots had been stomped, there would have been more to take their places...