A Bush Brawl
Many years ago, on safari, in the Aberdare Mountains of Kenya, we were watching a black rhinoceros drink at a small waterhole. It was a picture postcard, tranquil evening scene with the rhino at the water, the setting African sun in the background and a mother duck on the water, gently drifting by with her ducklings- the perfect spot to pause and reflect after spending the entire day out in the bush.
This wildlife ‘zen’ moment was soon to be shattered quite dramatically with the arrival of two young male elephants. As all wild-lifer’s know, in the bush, things always happen when you least expect them to.
These young bulls swaggered up to the water, quite like street thugs and began bullying the rhino off his spot. Trumpeting loudly and snapping their heads sideways, they tried intimidating him off his spot. Now rhinos are known to be stubborn but they usually give way to elephants. This guy however, wasn’t going to take any of this lying down. He squared his shoulders and charged the elephants.
Shocked by this sudden burst of aggression from an unexpected source, one of the elephants retaliated by thunderously head butting the rhino in his flank. As the conflict escalated, the 2nd elephant panicked and ran away from this scene as fast as he could, shuffling fast towards the single acacia tree that grew beside the waterhole. He then tried to hide his large bulk, rather unsuccessfully behind this threadbare tree, where he stood, cowering in fright.
A battle royale raged between the 1st elephant and the rhino. The air was full of dust and sound that literally shook the jeep we were sitting in. After about a half hour of these two going full -tilt at each other, the bruised and exhausted rhino reluctantly conceded defeat and grudgingly backed away from the waterhole.
Upon seeing this-his buddy’s victory- the 2nd elephant who, till now, stood motionless, pretending he wasn’t even there, emerged from his hiding place. His body language immediately reverted back to the old confident tough-guy swagger. He hurried towards the waterhole, which was now clear of the rhino. He triumphantly flailed his trunk, trumpeted loudly and violently charged the little ducklings in the water, scattering them even further away.
I could have sworn the the1st elephant looked at him with an expression that said ” are you serious?”
I guess some of us are braver than others.