Elephant bull is unimpressed with camera, kicks it over with his foot
Living and working in the African wild has given me many opportunities to film and document the behaviour of a vast number of wildlife species. One of my favourite species of wildlife to observe and film is the African elephant. On the rare occasion, as shown in this video, these African giants will let you know when they are not impressed by the presence of your filming equipment. This can lead to very interesting footage in the end.
It was late afternoon when I decided to head out into the wild on my own, kitted with all my filming equipment. I was specifically out searching for a herd of elephants to film. African elephants are my favourite animals to film in the wild as they are almost always busy doing something. Spending lots of time with any herd of elephants can deliver many memorable behaviours and experiences. The Kruger National Park hosts one of the largest populations of African elephant on the continent and finding these giants normally does not take too long. I came across a small herd of male adult elephants close to the road. I switched off and started observing.
As a keen wildlife videographer, one always attempts to capture your subject from as many angles and distances as possible. Getting close up footage of the world’s largest terrestrial mammal in its natural environment takes some creative planning and a bit of luck. This was where my GoPro came in pretty handy. Together with the right equipment, planning the rest of the shot involves a lot of anticipation while closely monitoring the elephant herd’s behaviour. Of course, you cannot just throw the camera at the elephant and hope for the best. Anticipating where the elephants will go next is the main priority to get it right. This can take a lot of time and patience. It can vary from getting it right the first time to a whole day or even a week’s worth of attempts.
The small herd of bull elephants was slowly grazing towards the direction of the road. I anticipated where they would cross the road, placed my GoPro among some elephant dung for camouflage and moved away some distance. That is where the waiting starts. The elephants can at any moment change direction and move off and the plan can fail. I became excited when I saw two bull elephants crossing the road near the camera but it was yet still too far a shot for anything worthwhile. My excitement levels increased when one large bull elephant slowly walked past the camera before he stopped and took a step back. The bull elephant clearly spotted the small black foreign object lying among the elephant dung and started sniffing it with his trunk. After investigating the camera with his trunk, the bull elephant gave it one more look and kicked it over with his front right foot. Luckily the camera fell in the right position and the GoPro managed to snap a great shot of the elephant straight from below upwards. After showing that he was not really impressed by the camera, the bull elephant casually crossed the road and continued feeding into the bush with the rest of the herd.