“Getting charged by an Elephant is always a goose bumps experience. This one has charged me recently in Amboseli National Park- Kenya and it was so dramatic”. Leo explained his experience.
Leo Johnson is a native of Indian Tamil who living in Kenya last 7 years. He is an Engineer, Director and Business Head who working at Kenya had an amazing experience during his journey for Amboseli. And also he is a professional photographer who contribute his leisure time for wildlife photography most of the days. He fell in love with wildlife photography in Kenya blessed county with abundant amount of breathtaking nature at its best.
“The nature of Kenyan tribes respecting and protecting wildlife keeps this county closer to the way nature has created this beautiful planet”. He said.
Apart from the business engagements, he tend to visit regularly in and around national parks at Kenya. So he said that. “I was charged many times by Elephants before in other places, but Amboseli elephants are mostly calm. Few would warn you but won’t charge”.
At that time, I was on the park road. I think they are a family and about to cross the road just in front from me. Male Elephant already agitated as was fighting with another elephant who ran away. Then he suddenly turned towards me. He was so agitated and even broke a tree branch and threw at me. I thought that it was my last moment of my life. Maybe he was as protective as there were many calves in the herd.
Many of my friend asking me about video at that time. The beauty of wildlife is photographer don’t know what will happen to next and when. At the moment I was busy taking photos and later cursed myself not to switch on my other camera for video. Consoled myself that the experience was more valuable than video. By Looking at the photos I took, you can see the dust he agitated while running towards me. I took over 250 photos during the charge but I remained calm throughout the drama to tell him I’m no threat to the herd.
Someone asking me are you sure you haven’t upset him? I told him that only thing was upset that day was my stomach. Elizabeth Spencer, one of my friends who always told me about how to do photography carefully during wildlife journey.
Every herd of Elephants has their own corridors for migration for food and water sources. The knowledge passed on generation to generation. The conflict comes when human occupy their routes and territories.
Leslie Campbell, one of my friends who living in Africa for 10 years told me that “it was infrequent, but not uncommon to be charged by protective elephants. There was never harm done but it always proved exciting”. That is true. Mostly a false alarm. But there were many incidents turned fatal. One happened on Tsavo where two rangers crushed inside a land cruiser.
The whole objective of wildlife photography is understanding that we are at their place. Respect them and not to disturb them. Watch their life as a spectator not as an intruder. Thought of sharing my little experiences with you through the eyes of my camera.
Another amazing experience.. I hope to tell you that story about White Rhinos in future. Read at a glance here..
They have poor eyesight but with good hearing and smelling senses. I was walking towards it, while the wind was on my side. They are not very aggressive like black Rhinos, but it’s better not to risk if we don’t know the animal behavior or a trained Ranger with us.
Photo Credits to – Leo Johnson
To be continued and stay tuned with ShutterBulky