ELEPHANT VIDEO EXPLAINED
Thank you for taking the time to read this link explaining more about the elephant encounter.
The video, which in all formats has over 25 million views, was filmed on a wilderness trail. The region is unfenced with free roaming big game and the elephant is wild. And to disappoint countless keyboard warriors out there with nothing better to do, no, there is no SWAT team covering me, no glass barrier or pitfall trap between us, and no, the elephant is not trained or even computer generated! Nor have I beaten him in the past with my stick.
As a wilderness guide i strive to avoid confrontations with wild animals, and in 30 years of guiding, have never deliberately provoked one. The default reaction of wild animals, including big game, is to avoid encounters with humans. However, the reality is that things do not always go according to the book.
Then what? As a guide, and have to deal with the scenario before you.
With all the hindsight in the world, would not have done anything differently. I did not get myself into a situation, i got myself and our trail party out of one. My role was to maintain the collective confidence and energy of the walking party, especially during the tense moments of the charges.
I would NEVER suggest that anyone tries this! If you are a guide then i urge you to use extreme caution whilst walking. In the jungles of social media sensationalism, the lack of proper context is often a casualty. It took me 18 months to post the video online because of this.
If you look past the social media distortion, you will the moments of connection between a person and an elephant. Listen to the calm consistency and tone of bird calls during the encounter, note the intrinsic body language and soft eyes of the elephant, the stillness of the photographer, and how evenly the bull walks away at the end, comfortable enough to turn his back on us.
Above all however, it demonstrates the unique intelligence and sentiency of these remarkable animals. An understanding deepens whilst out on foot where we are isolated from our lifelines of projection and rational thought, that blur the boundary between what is happening in our minds and the reality on the ground. And every so often, a special encounter inquires where this boundary lies or perhaps, if it even exists at all.
To share a transformative view of elephant awareness.
It is time to view these animals through a different lens, a lens that also incorporates our own wholeness and sacred attitudes. The encounter was after all about the elephant, not me. To acknowledge that energy is real and how it resonates with our environment and other beings around us. Conservation attitudes need to embrace this higher state of awareness.
All rights reserved. Alan McSmith 2019