Close encounter with aggressive elephant captured

Unprovoked, an elephant at Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park crashed into tourists having lunch last week, according to the user who posted the video to YouTube.

Bull elephant.

Bull elephant. Image by Craig Baerwaldt / CC BY 2.0

The YouTube poster attributed the accident to the elephant’s poor eyesight, saying no one in the party fed the elephant or threw anything at him.

The Daily Mail identified the two men the elephant swatted with his trunks and tusks as Irishman Stephen Montague and his brother-in-law Shane Wolf. One of them received a minor injury from the encounter.

Mana Pools National Park is a remote 849-square-mile unfenced park where visitors are allowed to travel without a guide (the Daily Mail reports this group, however, had one). While elephant encounters are a highlight for visitors—although maybe not in this instance—other animals travelers there are likely to see include hippos, crocs, zebras, and lions.

Elephants kill more than 500 people each year, according to the 2005 National Geographic Channel documentary, 'Elephant Rage' (Sharks, which garner a lot more negative media coverage, killed just three people in 2014.) While researchers said elephant attacks are becoming more common, they are usually the result of elephants’ habitat shrinking or people antagonizing them. Neither of those reasons were the cause of the encounter in this video.

Should an elephant attack you, your best bets are to climb a tree too sturdy for the animal to topple, or play dead, according to The Guardian. Also, be sure to congratulate yourself for seeing one in the wild rather than a zoo or circus.

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