An elephant mother stands her ground while we try to pass at BR Hills Nature Reserve, South India. I was filming with three very experienced Indian naturalists and they had never seen a tour-de-force of elephant stubbornness quite like this before...
Excerpt from my blog 16th July 2009:
"Only a few hours ago, whilst driving through the BR Hills reserve on the search for Tigers we encountered three elephants blocking our route. Two large females and a small calf. It was getting dark and we needed to pass. Rather than startle them we switched off the engine and waited... hopefully they would return to the forest and allow us to pass. But rather than oblige us they slowly moved in our direction, lazily browsing on the vegetation as they came closer and closer. They were either oblivious to our presence or considered us of no threat - we knew that this mutual understanding could all change in the blink of an eye. The tiny calf was sandwiched between the colossal flanks of the two adults and it seemed pretty carefree as it swung its trunk around, occasionally resting its head against the side of one of its guardians. It was a real privilege to see such intimacy. As they exchanged caresses, their trunks touching and stroking each other, they were gentle giants slowly plodding towards us. We were lost in the moment, observing this beautiful scene as these magnificent animals simply went about their daily lives." Read more.
Unfortunately this video contains no footage of the moment we were charged by the large female. We all froze and didn't record this terrifying moment. I did however manage to grab a single shot on my stills camera.