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Old 8th November 2007, 10:53   #1
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Default Wild Elephant crossing roads & tackling techniques??

Hi Folks

As its Diwali time, me and my friends have planned up for a trip to ooty from b'lore...After going through numerous posts in team-bhp, we did't have much problem in deciding which route to take. As we would be passing through bandipur, the though of an elephant(s) crossing the road came up to my mind as we are planning to cross bandipur early in morning. Thought we are eager to see some wild animals, we really do not want to have any bad experience with them, especially the elephants . Now my question for fellow bhpians is how exactly do we tackle the elephants in case if they are in no mood to move out of out way.....I know we are not supposed to honk at them but would appreciate any other advice from fellow bhpians.....
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:03   #2
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Hahaha... great thread.

Quote:
how exactly do we tackle the elephants in case if they are in no mood to move out of out way
Well, you are eager to see the wild animals, but only for a short amount of time eh ?

The best way to move a wild elephant without pissing it off is probably to wait. Enjoy the scenery.

Watch out for elephants that are single (arent in a herd) coz they may be crazy outcasts. Also, if you are out of the car and there are wild elephants around, try to be downwind...unless they have gas...in which case it might be safer if you are upwind!! lol

cya
R
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:12   #3
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Stop your car and wait.Thats all you could do
Never honk at them.

Once while traveling from Manjolai to Kothaiyar in Tirunelveli district Tamilnadu,we were blocked by a herd of 4 elephants for close to 2 hours.
We were traveling by the state govt bus and all the bus driver did was to shut down the engine and request the people inside not to make any sound.
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:14   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jango View Post
Hi Folks

we really do not want to have any bad experience with them, especially the elephants . Now my question for fellow bhpians is how exactly do we tackle the elephants in case if they are in no mood to move out of out way.....I know we are not supposed to honk at them but would appreciate any other advice from fellow bhpians.....
There is not much you can do to get them out of the way. All you can do is take some precautions
- Just reverse and put a decent amount of distance between you and the elephants
- switch of your lights, leaving the parking lights on so that you will be able to see something
- once your eyes are adjusted to the dark switch of the parking lights too
- turn off your engine and wait

Honking at them will only make them irritated or angry. Lights and engine noise make them curious about you and attract unwanted attention.

So just be quite and enjoy the magnificient animals!

Info learnt from forest officers and truck drivers who have experienced numerous close calls with many wild animals.

Did the exact same thing last weekend when I was driving through wayanad to get to Sultan's Battery from Gundlupet. Road was blocked by three elephants and took them about 15 minutes to move out of the way.

Raj!.
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:27   #5
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Honking or flashing headlights can irritate the elephants or bison, like Rehaan said, better to wait it out at a safe distance. Make sure that there is enough room to manouevre around and turn back in case anything untoward happens - don't be cocky that your car is strong enough to withstand any charge by elephants or bison - the cars are not! In case there are elephants grazing on the road side, I would pass them by only if there is at least 20-30 feet separation and they are turned away from the road. When you stop by, caution both oncoming and following vehicles to do the same and ensure that the same discipline is followed. Walking out of teh car near the wild animals is risky and should be avoided.

On one occasion, I had a situation at Bandipur at around 730 pm when I was on a bike and an oncoming trucker warned me of elephant crossinga head. Not only did a large herd cross the road but a straggler refused to budge from teh middle of teh road and pulled down a small tree.Traffic piled up on both sides of the road and it took almost 15 minutes for the elehonat to move away on her own. The truckers are prepared for such eventualities - they had the hackers out and chopped away the tree to remove it in bits and pieces before we could all move on.

I had another occasion in Buxa WLS (West Begal-Assam border) around 6 pm (winter in the North East, it is very dark), and as I turned the cornwr with my yellow fog lamps, a huge tusker charged at me (had been waiting on the cuve and probaby got enraged by the headlamps and yellow fog lamp) - luckily, I was at good speeds and the road was wide enough for me to execute a split-second detour and slip through with the trunk inches away. My advice is to be watchful on curves, open spaces and dips in the road and try to sway headlights (gentle zig zag drive across teh road) so that you can get a better sighting of the road shoulders and the immediate neighbourhood.
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:38   #6
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And DON'T forget, never use your camera with Flash, that may become your last photograph if you are unlucky.
And always keep a safe distance,they normally don't attack humans unless they feel threatened.But beware of the single Elephants,they are the rogue ones who has been outcasted from the herd because of bad behaviour;-)
They sometimes will give you mock charge just to scare you,back-off asap and they'll also cut the chase.
Donot even think of getting down from the vehicle to have a closer look.Normally wild-lives feel less threatened by a vehicle then a human.
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Old 8th November 2007, 11:59   #7
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Some good points there. But ..

If you are going to reverse, pls make sure your reverse gear is not hooked up to a horn / beeper. This will attract attention.

Take a call depending on the situation if you want to switch off / let your engine idle. Both have pro's & cons. If you do switch your engine off, then keep an eye on any elephant getting restless.

Be calm, and let them be calm. No flashes, no head-lights, no horns, no reverse horns. Keep your distance. Remember, You will be in their territory.

QUESTION:
Guys: should one roll up the windows to keep the one's smell from wafting to the animals ?
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:02   #8
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@Jango:
that's the whole thing about TBHP... ask anything that you think is silly and you will see loads of them who have been there done that will offer advices

we went through a similar situation, a bit scary though. we, a group of 8 were driving through bandipur in a M800 and an Ambassador (old times)

due to miscalculations in timings, we ended up crossing bandipur at 9 in the evening. not that we were not warned by a restaurant at our previous stop, but we went ahead and we drove straight into a herd of elephants - about 20 of them!!!

i was just 12 years old then and bit ignorant about the impending danger.

our drivers, being regular ones on that route, stopped the engines, the lights, and asked us to keep quite and keep watching and enjoy the wilderness as long as we are alive!!!

the herd did pass by quickly in what seemed an eternity, but that was one truly scary experience seeing elephants in the front, back and around a puny car like the M800. the air was reeking of elephants.

an elephant dropping that we saw was larger than what the M800's tyres could plough through

very memorable experience till date for me.

have a safe journey. avoid late nights through bandipur if possible.

Last edited by gbpscars : 8th November 2007 at 12:05.
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:14   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Walking out of teh car near the wild animals is risky and should be avoided.
Little bit OT, but a quick fact that needs to be remembered.

An elephant can run faster than a man, so better not take that chance.
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jango View Post
Now my question for fellow bhpians is how exactly do we tackle the elephants in case if they are in no mood to move out of out way...
These days elephants would be asking similar question- How to tackle the Bangy boys.

Animals in Bandipur are rather exposed to traffic, and are well behaved compared to their 2-legged brotheren. When coming across herds, be aware that momma elephants sometimes give mock charge to scare those who dare to come close. Those are really mock charges.

Also, watch out the traffic. You may be well mannered, but the guy in next car landing up behind you might do the stupidest things, like honking, shouting, throwing bottles etc. Once angry, elephants don't bother to read number-plates. I have seen this happening in my home district in Kerala.

Have a safe drive.
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:17   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
Some good points there. But ..

If you are going to reverse, pls make sure your reverse gear is not hooked up to a horn / beeper. This will attract attention.

Take a call depending on the situation if you want to switch off / let your engine idle. Both have pro's & cons. If you do switch your engine off, then keep an eye on any elephant getting restless.

Be calm, and let them be calm. No flashes, no head-lights, no horns, no reverse horns. Keep your distance. Remember, You will be in their territory.

QUESTION:
Guys: should one roll up the windows to keep the one's smell from wafting to the animals ?

@ condor, no we do not have any reverse alarms on the car, and abt keeping the cars engine on, i guess that would be a gud idea, in case just in case, and more over we will be travelling in a maruthi so forget abt the engins noise......Turning off the headlight, well that was something new for me, as some of my friends had suggested me to keep the light on itself.....

@ gbpscars , i knew that's the reason why i stared the thread, i knew i would get some help out here
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
These days elephants would be asking similar question- How to tackle the Bangy boys.

Animals in Bandipur are rather exposed to traffic, and are well behaved compared to their 2-legged brotheren. When coming across herds, be aware that momma elephants sometimes give mock charge to scare those who dare to come close. Those are really mock charges.

Also, watch out the traffic. You may be well mannered, but the guy in next car landing up behind you might do the stupidest things, like honking, shouting, throwing bottles etc. Once angry, elephants don't bother to read number-plates. I have seen this happening in my home district in Kerala.

Have a safe drive.
@ whiteKnight, true !! i am sure Bandipur forest is going to see too much of traffic in the coming days !!
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:27   #13
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Elephants by nature are extremely protective of their young. So if you see a baby elephant around be sure there will be lots of bigger ones around. So take care not to distract them. And as others have mentioned beware of the lone tusker. They are extremely dangerous and are to be avoided. So if you see one then get out of there..quick. Its a good idea to stop over at one of the road side shops in the village before entering Bandipur to check with the villagers for any lone tusker around.

An interesting episode we had a few years back. We had been driving through Bandipur (on the way to Ooty) at around 6pm in winter when we saw a small baby elephant all alone by the road feasting on the bamboo shoots. We stopped the car and the engine about 10 ft from the elephant. Since my friend had just bought a new camera we thought we should take a picture. It was dark and he wanted to change the camera to night mode to avoid the flash and we were not sure with the settings of the new SLR. So we were both distracted with the camera. Suddenly we heard the sound of Bamboo cracking and as we looked up we saw this huge female elephant about 5 feet away from the Car coming straight at us. We stood absolutely still, not a sound and scared S***less. She stopped just short of our car and observed us. It was just for a couple of minutes but it felt like an hour. All the while it was staring at us. Then it turned around moved on to its baby and started breaking bamboo shoots for its young one. We stared the engine and reversed back and waited. After a few minutes about 20 elephants crossed the road in front of and behind our car. A moment that I can never forget and the reason I go back to the jungles every year. By far the scariest moment of my life.
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:34   #14
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Well a whole lot of do's & dont's if you run into a herd of elephants. Last year I visited the Rajaji National Park in Uttaranchal near Haridwar which is an elephant country.

I was in my Safari and I was told by the forest official that in case I encounter elephants then I should stop and keep the engine running. He said that the sound of a diesel engine makes them a bit wary. BTW, all the vehicles that were allowed inside the forest were diesels including the forest vehicles.

How true is that?
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Old 8th November 2007, 12:35   #15
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Just keep a safe distance and enjoy the scenery without, flashes, headlight and honking. If you see that the elephant or herd is showing too much of attratcion slowly and steadily move out of the place.

Donot switch off the engine just idle and ensure that you have space to back up, turn etc from where you are standing.

Unless someone or something provokes them they are peacful creatures, yes additional caution when a young one is part of the herd.

Have a pleasant drive.
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