Jan 152012
Attack by Wild Elephants of Nagarhole National Park
In the last post I wrote about the cute baby elephant that we saw playing  with a cloth at the elephant camp in Coorg.
Next we went to see Wild Elephants of Nagarhole national park. In this post let me write about our experience on seeing 2 wild elephants in the wild in Nagarhole National park in Karnataka. This trip was also part of our Coorg leg of the journey and we took the car to the Nagarhole, inside the core area of the park solitary human vehicles are not welcome and we were packed in a forest department minibus.  We have decided to cut short some of the tourist spots outside the park so that we could reach the park to take the first safari. Wherever there is shared vehicle in a national park I always try to take the first bus as it increases your chances of seeing the wild life.

We were told that Nagarhole is famous for its elephants; having encountered elephants in Madumalai in Tamil Nadu and Rajaji National Park in Uttaranchal we were expecting a similar zoo like darshan of the gentle giants. We were totally unprepared for what was in store for us. But unlike the beautiful Elephant family that we saw in Madumalai National Park this guy in Nagarhole was a bit of Angry young man.
After the mandatory sighting of Langurs and Deer we were hoping to see some big game and were praying to see a herd of elephants. Soon I was to remember an old Chinese saying “ Be careful what you wish for… for it may come true”

While I was explaining to my daughter the reason Deer and Langurs are always close to each other the bus came to  a stop and then the driver started reversing it. Soon we were able to see 2 giant elephants in the distance; they were not very old and were silently chewing on the branches of the trees. One of them was a female and other a young bull with his first tusk just starting to show under his trunk. Everybody in the bus got excited at the sight of the gentle giants silently chewing on the branches and started clicking the pictures. I had my Nikon D7000 camera with a 55-300 lens with me, the zoom lens really came in handy at this occasion and I was blissfully capturing the pictures.
Then the elephants became aware of our presence and they stopped chewing, one of them became a little more curious about our presence and came a little forward. I was smiling at my fortune and told my wife today is our lucky day as the big elephant is coming closer and I will be able to click much nicer pictures. Somebody else also made the wise comment:
Yes he is giving poses to get pictures clicked”...
Little did we realized that while the pet elephants kept in Zoos and temples raise their trunks to get  a banana as reward, the wild elephants show it as a  sign of aggression to tell the intruders to get lost.
wild elephants nagarhole
Young Couple Silently Chewing
Suddenly it became clear to us what the elephant had in his mind, for a creature that weighs more than 5000 Kg he charged towards our bus with the speed that will put the best of race car drivers to shame.
Making a sound like a war cry from a trumpet, trunk raised and breaking all the branches that came in his way while charging the elephant came running towards the bus.
young indian tusker
Pachyderms Realize We Are Watching
On seeing this previously unseen personality trait of a wild elephant all of us in the bus must have called our favourite gods in the span of that millisecond when elephant was just a few meters away from the bus. But due to some strange reason he stopped just a few meters away from the bus made the trumpet sounds a few times, and stopped as if a miracle has happened and changed his mind, making us wonder what his next plan of action would be.
All  of the city bred tourists were screaming at the top of their voices and urging the driver of the bus to start and go away from there. The driver of the bus was more than happy to oblige. I was trying to click a few more photos in the merging clouds of dust left by the escaping bus with the ones created by the charge of the elephant.
mock attack by elephant
The Charge
elephant attack
He Is Close…Is He Going To Attack?
elephant retreats nagarhole
The Miracle-He Stops And Retreats
This is an adventure and a miracle I am sure each one of us in the bus will never forget in our life. This adventure has only increased my love for wild life and reminded me once again that in a jungle we are the intruders and we should respect the privacy of wild animals, more so when they are a young elephant couple!

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