Friday, November 6, 2009

Dangerous African Elephants

This story is about Anton Turner, a 38-year-old Briton, who worked for BBC in Tanzania, Africa. He was working on a show that was tracing the footsteps of the famous British explorer David Livingstone in Africa. Anton was charged by an elephant and was mortally injured. The doctor who accompanied the filming crew treated Mr. Turner and said that he died shortly after being attacked.

A lot of people do not understand how dangerous African elephants are. They are not the cuddly looking elephants we see in the American circus shows. These elephants are mean and vicious and are not hesitant to attack at a moment’s notice. My Malawi neighbors sported two gaping holes on the side of their Toyota Land Cruiser where an elephant charged them with its tasks.

I will tell you a scary story that happened to our family. Well, it was scary for me anyway :-) In April of 2007 we took our friends to the Mvuu Lodge in the Liwonde Game Park. Mvuu Lodge provides guided tours of the park and we felt it was safer to go with them than to venture out on our own. We all piled in into their car and set off. It was my first time to be there so I was as excited as our visitors were. But I still remembered all the stories of charging elephants that I have heard of before. After a little while we came upon a family of elephants with young ones. The driver pulled up very close and turned off the engine. My first thought to that was, “Does his starting motor work well?” I could feel panic build up in me because I have always heard of elephants charging to protect their young. And sure enough, the male elephant started walking slowly towards us. I asked the driver if we could leave to which he said, “Don’t worry, Madam. He is just walking. If he starts to flap his ears and sound his trunk, it means he is about to charge.” And at that moment he did just that! My heart went cold and I thought we were all going to die! All I could do is to plead with the calm and confident driver to start the car and leave that place. Finally the guide could see the panic and tears in my eyes and we left. But what if the car did not start? This blog would not exist!

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