Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby elephant attacked by crocodile

The scene was captured by amateur photographer Johan Opperman while taking pictures of a family of African bush elephants browsing by a water hole and cooling down. Under the watchful eye of its family, the young elephant headed to the edge of the waterhole to clutch a drink. However, a crocodile swooped on the youngster, hoping for a kill by locking its jaws around its trunk.

Hearing the baby's distress calls, the group of elephants scared off the reptile by trumpeting and stamping around. After the attack the group stayed with the youngster.

Once the group decided all was well, they crossed the dam together, just metres from where the crocodile had been hiding. Mr Opperman, from Pretoria, in South Africa, captured the unbelievable moment while on a day trip in the country's Kruger National Park. The 38 year-old said: "The elephants were just browsing in the area, drinking water and cooling down - typical elephant behavior.

"The crocodile grabbed the baby elephant and made a tried kill - it was hoping for a nice lunch with elephant on the menu. "From a couple of experts, I've heard that this is however very rare, and that crocodiles do not usually try to catch elephants. "When the crocodile got hold of the baby elephant, the whole group of elephants first went crazy, running around and trumpeting, and then proceeded to come to the rescue of the baby elephant. "After it was saved, all the elephants of the group waited around the baby elephant for a while, making sure that it was okay.

"The ones coming to the save were most probably female, especially the matriarch female."I did not understand exactly what I managed to catch on film until I got to my holiday resort that night and looked through the photos on my computer. "The screen on digital cameras is not the greatest and made it hard to see the particulars of what was captured. "When the 'action' started, I just started clicking away in typical amateur style, hoping to get at least something.