If an elephant charges, there are a few handy tips to keep in mind:
1. Determine whether or not the elephant is actually going to charge.
2. Watch the elephant’s ears
3. Listen for warnings as you’ll likely hear trumpeting as a warning from the elephant
All of the above, clearly a lot easier if you’re with a Zambian wildlife guide. The BBC features a great story on Mr. Mvula, a wildlife guide and his recent experience with a charging elephant.
Mr Mvula is a trained African wildlife guide with more than 20 years of experience. After viewing the elephants for some time, Mr Mvula, 46, and his party set up camp at a designated spot once the elephants had moved on. But they did not know that a bull elephant was trailing in the wake of the female elephants until it appeared a few minutes later. It weighed an estimated five tonnes (787 stone) and was in the prime of its life at about 40 years old. At first it seemed that it too was moving on, but suddenly it turned and stared at Mr Mvula and his party. The trained guide knew immediately that it posed a danger because he could see fluids coming out of its temporal glands which were running down its cheeks – a sure sign that the bull elephant was in a state of heightened sexual activity called musth. “When they are in this condition, they are liable to charge anything that gets in their way,” Mr Mvula said, “especially if it something or somebody that they are not certain about.” “I know that standing in front of it and telling it to go away is not an officially recognised procedure for dealing with this kind of a situation,” he said. “But I knew instinctively that it was worth a try even if there was no guarantee that it would work.