One Lancashire guy captured the ‘amazing’ moment when an exceptionally nimble elephant climbed over a 5-foot wall to try to claw a mango from his safari lodge.
Guests of the Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, just left a hunting trip on Saturday afternoon when an adult man made a surprise visit.
General Manager Ian Salisbury, 68, discovered that the male elephant was calculating how to pull its giant four legs over the stone wall without falling.
The hilarious pictures taken by Ian show the giant mammal poking its legs over the wall in the same way that humans can cross obstacles.
And when it got lost in the camp, Andy Hogg, the chief executive officer of the motel-owned Bushcamp Company, videotaped the giant creature’s brief but unsuccessful fruit hunt.
A family of elephants visited the site in southern Africa between October and mid-December, but this unexpected visitor was too late – looking for mangoes out of season.
Ian, from Bacup, Lancs, said: ‘He just chooses the straightest path and does it himself at home.
‘The visitors were very excited about the idea of an elephant climbing. They were surprised that it would be troublesome to climb over such a high wall.
‘They were driving hunting in the National Park at the time, so we’re sorry to miss seeing it [live]. ”
The motel has a central foyer area that is open and often attracts an elephant family in early winter.
But the herd usually followed the stoned path, rather than following the direct path of the wall.
Ian said: ‘He’s a stranger to us. I want to investigate. I want to enter the central area where this huge mango tree is located.
‘He’s obviously quite hungry and wants to get some wild mangoes for himself, even though he doesn’t have any left now. That was all that was accomplished during the year.
‘He came and sprawled out, looked around, ate some grass, then strangely turned and went back, which was pretty interesting.
‘His easiest way to get there is to climb over this high wall. It was really unusual behavior when an elephant climbed that high.
‘It’s impressive that he can coordinate all fours to cross the wall because the elephant is a sizable bull, maybe around 30, just in middle age.’
Given the unusually wet weather, Ian believes the lone elephant may have been encouraged to take a detour to avoid the floods.
‘The elephants tend to roam quite large distances and depending on the availability of food they will show up in certain areas,’ says Ian.
‘It was quite drier compared to about last week, we had heavy rainfall which almost caused flooding. Whether that encourages him to look around, I’m not sure.’