This is the moment when a bull elephant – when his testosterone levels can be 60 times higher than normal – decideD to get acquainted with a parked hatchback.
The two people in this VW Polo were horrified to find themselves in the wrong place, at the wrong time, when a giant elephant bent down and rubbed itself against the vehicle’s roof and bonnet.
The astonishing images were taken by 21-year-old Armand Grobler, a field guide and lodge manager at Pilanesburg National Park in South Africa.
He said: ‘I was doing research in mythology – the study of animal behavior – at the time, so I had a basic understanding of what was going on.
‘The elephant was presumably on musth, which is a time when a male elephant has an excess amount of testosterone, turning even the calmest Dumbo into an aggressive bull.
‘However, even when in this condition, it showed no signs of aggression or frustration and was in a more playful mood.’
Elephants often use logs, small trees, and rocks to relieve an itch or get rid of parasites – but with the car so close to hand, it was too good of a chance to pass up.
Mr. Grobler added: ‘We didn’t know what to do in the situation where the elephant came into contact with the vehicle, and when it was crushed, we feared for the lives of the driver and passenger, but their efforts were greatly appreciated as to what we could do.
‘The total emotion in our car, as we watched in horror, was that we were being given adrenaline but still scared and helpless.
‘Two passengers in the car, male and female, both in their 20’s or early 30’s, were unharmed, only suffered a strong concussion. Both are shocked but happy to be alive.
‘The car wasn’t so lucky. From what we could see and hear, all the windows were smashed, the roof was badly dented, and the car’s entire front end was smashed.
“All four tires were blown, and the chassis was broken.”
As for the elephant, after giving himself a good scratch, he continued walking to relieve the itch – regardless of the devastation it had left.