14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
An Elephant Encounter in the Mara
A single-tusked matriarch protects her family. As we drove with our guide in our safari vehicle, we were within a few kilometers of the airstrip in Masai Mara when we noticed a large one-tusked female elephant with her family walking toward us. As our vehicle pulled forward a bit, we noticed a cape buffalo asleep under a bush about 20 feet from the road.
The cape buffalo raised his head and stood up, which must have been perceived as a threatening movement for the elephants. As the buffalo stepped toward the approaching elephants, the momma elephant trumpeted a warning and threw her trunk up in the air. The elephant moved closer to the buffalo and the buffalo, surprisingly, charged the elephant rather than flee. The buffalo fell then fell to its knees.
The elephant then lowered her head and, without any warning, went straight for the buffalo. She then bent down and literally impaled the buffalo with her single tusk and lifted it straight up over her head with her tusk protruding from the other side of the buffalo. She slammed the buffalo back on the ground, struggling a bit to release her tusk and backed up. She then herded her family to the other side of the road and continued to trumpet and stomp her feet at the mortally wounded buffalo.
Photo of the Day: 05.09.16
© Kimberly Maurer.
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||May 4, 2016, 4:39 a.m.