A Lancashire youngster captured the ‘incredible’ moment an especially agile elephant clambered over a five-foot wall to steal mangoes from his safari accommodation.
On Saturday, the guests of Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park had just left for their afternoon safari drive when the adult male made them an unexpected visit.
Ian Salisbury, 68, noticed the bull elephant calculating how to lift its four massive legs over the stone wall without collapsing.
Ian caught hilarious photographs of the enormous mammal hittingching its legs over the wall in the same manner a human would.
And as it wandered inside camp, Andy Hogg, managing director of The Bushcamp Company, which owns the lodge, videoed the massive creature’s brief but fruitless fruit quest.
Between October and mid-December, a family of elephants visits the location in southern Africa, but this surprise visitor arrived too late – looking for out-of-season mangoes.
‘He just took the most direct route and made himself perfectly at home,’ Ian, originally from Bacup, Lancs, recalled.
‘The concept of a climbing elephant made the guests very happy. They were astounded that it would bother climbing such a high wall.
‘They were on a safari drive in the National Park at the time and were disappointed not to have seen it.”
In the early winter, a family of elephants frequently visits the lodge’s open center foyer area.
However, the herd frequently takes a stoned track rather than the direct route of the wall.
‘He was a stranger to us,’ Ian explained. He wanted to look into it. He desired to enter the centre area, where this large mango tree grew.
‘He was clearly hungry and expected to obtain some wild mangoes for himself, but there aren’t any left anymore.’ That concludes the calendar year.
‘He arrived and stretched out, looked around, ate some grass, then weirdly turned around and returned the same way, which was rather hilarious.’
‘The quickest way for him to get there was to climb over this huge wall. It is extremely unusual for an elephant to climb thus high.
‘It was surprising that he could coordinate his four legs to get over the wall because the elephant was quite a large bull, maybe around 30 years old.’
Because of the extremely rainy weather, Ian believes the lone elephant was urged to take a diversion to escape flooding.
‘Elephants tend to move very long distances and will appear in various regions depending on the availability of food,’ Ian explained.
‘It had been pretty dry for the last week or two, but we had massive amounts of rain that almost produced a flood.’ I’m not sure if that prompted him to take a look around.’