Wildlife seekers are still reeling from shock following the recent incident at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal, where an elephant flipped over an SUV with the family still inside.
Luckily, no passengers were severely injured, and the elephant remains unharmed.
To make your sightings much safer and more enjoyable, iSimangaliso Wetland Park officials offered the following tips when viewing the elephants and other wildlife.
* Slow down as soon as you see an animal.
* Switch off the engine, sit quietly, and enjoy the sighting.
* Keep an eye on both sides and the rear of the vehicle for approaching elephants or other animals.
* Make sure you can easily drive away from the sighting.
* Allow the elephants/other animals a clear path away from the area.
* Give the animals space to move off the road before driving past them.
* Retreat slowly if the elephants/other animals are showing any signs of unease or mild threat.
* Drive away slowly and quietly if they continue to show any threatening behaviour.
* Give a musth bull (evident by dark, oily secretions on either side of the head) lots of space (more than 50m); their testosterone levels make them short-tempered.
* Reverse if a musth bull is in front of you, don’t drive past or let him walk towards you.
* If any elephant/other animal displays aggressive behaviour such as rushing towards a vehicle, tusking the ground, throwing sand/ branches at you or trumpeting loudly) always play it safe and retreat.
*Always keep a safe distance of 50-70 metres between your vehicle and the animal.
* Don’t rush up to the elephants/other animals.
* Don’t drive closer than 50 metres to the nearest elephant.
* Don’t park your car over any elephant footpaths leading off from the road.
* Don’t box the elephants/other animals in when other vehicles are present.
* Never cut off or block elephants/other animals from the direction they are walking.
* Never drive or park between members of the elephant herd.
* Never drive for extended periods when elephants are walking along the road.
* Never rev the engine when elephants/ other animals are present.
* Never try to push elephants/ other animals off the road.
* Never speed past elephants or drive faster than elephants generally walk (6km/ hour).
* Never drive off the road or leave your vehicle to get closer to elephants/ other animals.
* Never make any noises or fast, jerky movements to attract the animals attention.
* Never hang out of windows or sunroofs around elephants/ other animals.