Late last night, I heard a big commotion, my host was yelling, loudly, words and sounds I did not recognize. I wondered what I should do as my heart started to beat just a bit faster. I decided to stay in my bed a bit longer and wait. Another guest awoke and went out towards the sound, so that was my cue to muster courage to see what I was supposed to see. I asked him, “What’s happening?”
“Tusker,” he said.
This was a male elephant that could do some damage to our host’s property, this was a giant of the jungle.
The loud sound of our host’s voice and a broomstick on the gate was enough to finally run the tusker off, but not before the gate and some of the garden was damaged, as well as some delicious trees.
We decided we would head to the rooftop terrace and listen to the jungle sounds. Off in the distance, “the pop, pop, pop” of firecrackers told us, the elephant had scared or disturbed another jungle tenant.
Amazing that these wild creatures of such enormous size and stature can be so nervous and sensitive. But, there is so much love and respect I have for them, and I think, they have some kind of love and respect for humans as well. They are incredibly intelligent and conscious of their environments and the people within them.
It was only days ago, that a story was told to me of a mother, a father and their four year old boy. They went on safari in a jeep, and having discovered an elephant, they stopped to look at it. They began taking pictures and perhaps a camera reminded the elephant of the barrel of a gun, I do not know, but that elephant was upset. The guide and husband did not want to take off right away, but then in a moment of panic, the elephant rushed them. The mother held her son to her, who began to scream and cry, just at the moment the elephant’s foot was lifted over the side of the jeep. When the elephant heard the child cry, she lowered her foot to the ground, turned around and walked away.
Here’s a video of one of our “tusker” encounters:
It’s indeed a special encounter to be face to face with an elephant. I gladly count myself lucky to have felt not only the delight of its presence but also the danger of its reaction. I hope it sensed my love towards it. I believe animals are quite keen to the intention of “no harm” and “admiration.” I ended that day the way I started it, with a night safari in the jungle and the animals shrouding me (in their wonderful animal sounds) to keep me feeling admired as the stranger in a strange land.