Thirsty young jumbo’s close call with croc

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPOSTER - EMILY HALL

THIS young bull ele­phant got more than he bar­gained for when he am­bled up to a wa­ter­hole to slake his thirst. Just mo­ments af­ter he dipped his trunk in the wa­ter, it was grabbed by a croc­o­dile.

But luck­ily the croc had bit­ten off con­sid­er­ably more than he could chew – and the as­ton­ished ele­phant was able to whip his trunk out of the rep­tile’s jaws with no more than a few cuts to re­mem­ber the en­counter by.

The re­mark­able scene was cap­tured by am­a­teur wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher Ian Sal­is­bury, 62, at the South Luangwa Na­tional Park in Zam­bia. Sal­is­bury, gen­eral man­ager of a sa­fari lodge, said: “One of our guests had seen a croc­o­dile try a sim­i­lar at­tack on another ele­phant ear­lier in the day so, cam­era in hand, I went to see if there might be a re­peat per­for­mance.

“The ac­tion was so quick – a cou­ple of sec­onds – and for­tu­nately I had the cam­era point­ing in the right di­rec­tion. Hav­ing spent 30 years in the African bush, I re­alise how lucky I was to catch the scene.”

Sal­is­bury said the ele­phant “fled rapidly into the bush” af­ter the at­tack.

The in­ci­dent has re­mark­able echoes of Rud­yard Ki­pling’s chil­dren’s story, The Ele­phant’s Child, which tells how the an­i­mals got their trunks af­ter a croc­o­dile grabbed a baby ele­phant’s nose and kept pulling it un­til it stretched. – Mail On Sun­day

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