A cheeky elephant sneaked into a game lodge to drink from a swimming pool – and ended up bumping ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ a game ranger filming the amazing encounter. The majestic ᴡɪʟᴅ animal got so near that its tusk touched the man’s shoulder, and provided an extreme close-up of its wrinkly grey hide. Wɪʟᴅʟɪꜰᴇ manager Eugene Troskie, 34, had just settled down on some decking at the lodge he runs in South Africa when a herd of elephants arrived. The juvenile male elephant, around 20 years old, had taken a big slurp from the pool with his trunk when Mr Troskie reached for his phone to record the moment.
To his surprise, the elephant began walking straight towards him, looking to feed on juicy new shoots from the tree which the ranger was resting ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ – without seeming to notice the man was there. Mr Troskie, who runs Lion Place Lodge in the Grietjie Private Game Reserve inside Kruger National Park, kept calm and stayed still so as not to spook the elephant.
He said: “I thought he must have seen me as he got closer and closer but he clearly hadn’t and as his trunk went up to feed from the tree, his right tusk came down on my shoulder. I moved my phone to try and get a better shot but as I moved it, the elephant realised I was not a part of the fixtures and fittings but a human and got a sʜᴏᴄᴋ and shied away.
It was the most incredible of encounters to have a ᴡɪʟᴅ elephant who was unaware of your presence rest his tusk on you but I knew I was never in any ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ from the animal. My ten years as a game ranger teaches you when they are agitated or angry but this fella was completely relaxed and I was more than happy to let him come forward and say hello. It is not something I would have allowed a guest to do as you never know how a guest would react – but this was just me and him getting to know each other a little better and to chill out.”
The herd of 25 elephant regularly visit the waterhole just on the edge of the camp but sometimes they wander in and take a drink straight out of the pool to the delight of the camp guests. Lion Place Lodge is situated near Phalaborwa in Limpopo Province and is home to the Big 5 of elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros and is set in 2,800 hectares of prime savannah.
Mr Troskie, a married father-of-one, added: “I have a lovely photo of three elephants lined up next to each other popping their trunks into the pool and having a lekker [delicious] drink of water. When the elephants come into the lodge, they know they are in your territory and it is a very different proposition to you approaching them when they are relaxing in their own territory. If you approached them at their waterhole, they would perceive you as a threat but when they.