This is the moment a bull elephant on ᴍᴜsᴛʜ – when its ᴛᴇsᴛᴏsᴛᴇʀᴏɴᴇ levels can reach 60 times greater than normal – decided to get closely acquainted with a parked hatchback. Visitors to Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa will remember this day for a long time. After a few kilometers at the wheel of their Volkswagen Polo city car, an elephant crossed road. The walk ends here: the animal rubs violently against the car and forces its two passengers to wait for the end of the show. The two terrified occupants of this VW Polo found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time as a ɢɪᴀɴᴛ elephant stooped down to rub itself against the vehicle’s roof and bonnet.
The incredible images were taken by Armand Grobler, 21, a field guide and lodge manager, in Pilanesburg National Park in South Africa. He said: “I was doing ethology – the study of animal behaviour – at the time, so I had a basic understanding of what was going on. The elephant was presumably on ᴍᴜsᴛʜ, which is a time that an elephant male has an excess amount of ᴛᴇsᴛᴏsᴛᴇʀᴏɴᴇ, turning even the calmest Dumbo into a raging bull. Yet even though it was in this condition, it displayed no signs of aggression or ꜰʀᴜsᴛʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴ and was in a more playful mood.”
Elephants frequently use logs, small trees and rocks to relieve an ɪᴛᴄʜ or remove ᴘᴀʀᴀsɪᴛᴇs – but with the car so close to hand, it was a chance too good to pass up. Mr Grobler added: “We were unsure of what to do in the situation when the elephant made contact with the car, and when the car was being ᴄʀᴜsʜᴇᴅ, we feared for the lives of the driver and passenger but our efforts were very limited as to what we could do. The all-round emotion that was within our vehicle, as we watched in horror, was that we were rushed with adrenaline yet terrified and helpless. The two passengers in the car, male and female, both in late 20’s or early 30’s, were not ʜᴀʀᴍᴇᴅ, only badly sʜᴀᴋᴇɴ ᴜᴘ. They were both in sʜᴏᴄᴋ but happy to be alive. The car was not so lucky. From what we could see and hear, all the windows were sᴍᴀsʜᴇᴅ, the roof was badly dented and the entire top part of the car sᴍᴀsʜᴇᴅ. All four tyres had been ʙʟᴏᴡɴ and the chassis ʙʀᴏᴋᴇɴ.”
As for the elephant, after giving itself a good sᴄʀᴀᴛᴄʜ, it continued on it’s way ɪᴛᴄʜ free – oblivious to the destruction it had left behind. The story ends well for the passengers – a little less for the car. They emerged ᴜɴsᴄᴀᴛʜᴇᴅ from this unusual event. The Volkswagen Polo was badly ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇᴅ: the roof was sunken, the glass was ʙʀᴏᴋᴇɴ, the chassis was twisted while 4 tires were ʙʟᴏᴡɴ. Hopefully next time the elephant will find another scraper so as not to damage the car or ɪɴᴊᴜʀᴇ himself.