Africa > Southern Africa > Zimbabwe > Maverick Elephant Causes Mayhem At Lunch Table,Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Maverick Elephant Causes Mayhem At Lunch Table,Zimbabwe

2015/09/15

A video has emerged of an elephant causing mayhem at the alfresco luncheon table of guests at a luxury camp in Zimbabwe's famed Mana Pools National Park.

Two male diners appear to be slightly nervous as they sit with their backs turned to the giant mammal, who searches the grassy floor with his trunk just metres behind them.

Again the elephant, ears flapping, takes several steps towards the two men, lowers its chief and swings his trunk and tusks at one of them, propelling him out of the picture frame. The elephant instantly turns on the man's fellow diner, nudging him over the top of the table.

There is a clatter of plates and cutlery and excited laughter from other diners who realise that despite the drama, no critical injury has been inflicted.

A camp staffer instantly emerges from a thatched dining area and drives off the maverick elephant - who is evidently a regular camp visitor - with loud claps of his hands.

The two foreign diners appear uninjured from the encounter with the elephant, apart from a graze above the hip inflicted by the elephant's tusk on the man who was catapulted across the table. The video appears to have been shot at Ruckomechi, a top-notch safari camp on a private concession on the banks of the Zambezi River.

Ruckomechi describes itself on its official web page as "the elephants' favourite camp".

Mana Pools is famed for its wildlife and the freedom given to guests to walk unguided within the park.

Before this year Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority triggered an uproar at the same time as it decreed that there would be no additional free walking within the park.

The decree - apparently imposed because of fears that tourists may get injured - was later reversed.

Fatal encounters with wildlife in Mana are extremely rare. Wildlife and wilderness lovers say that visitors to Mana will be safe if they respect the animals.

Commenting on the video, Hanne Huysmans wrote on Facebook: "The elephant bulls of Mana Pools are generally known to be chilled, relaxed and approaching very close to people."

He suggested that in this case the elephant bull may have been lured close to the dining area by Ana Tree pods - a favourite food of elephants.

"People [should] realise we are invited guests into their space and we need to respect that," commented Beverley van Zyl, as well on Facebook.

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