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TRAPPED in an Elephant Battle!

TRAPPED in an Elephant Battle!

– This is intense, guys. The bull is right here on the
other side of these trees. You can see the trees moving. He might be coming
straight for us. I see the tusks! (Fast drum music) (Calm orchestral music
with tribal drums) – [Coyote] Morning light finds
its way through the darkness, signaling a new day has
arrived in South Africa. If you manage to
survive the night, it simply means the the fight
to survive against all odds will once again repeat itself. No matter who you are,
size doesn’t matter. From the small but
mighty dung beetle to the King of the Savanna, this harsh world,
while beautiful is
brutally unforgiving. On this adventure,
the crew and I face an incredible
challenge as we venture out across the Kariega Game Reserve in search of its most
iconic animal species, the African elephant. Alright, guys. It’s
time to head out on a classic elephant adventure. Now you would think that
finding an elephant, something that big,
would be simple. But believe it or not,
they’re really good at hiding into the underbrush. So, today I’m going to
be using binoculars, we’re going to be traveling
by way of vehicle, and with any luck
we’re going to get a giant tusker up close for
the cameras. (footsteps) Iconically known
as the big tusker, this massive animal
is seldomly seen. Yet our field guide, Jo
is known for her ability to track and find
this illusive icon. So with confidence and the
land cruiser driving us onward, we travel deeper into the bush looking for signs of this giant. – [Jo] There. There! – [Coyote] We got elephant
tracks here guys. Stop. Stop. – Oh, yeah. – Wow, look at this. (Swelling orchestral
music) (Car door slam) – Wow. That is me standing
in the track of an elephant and not a track that’s been
wedged down into the ground. But right here you can see
an elephant used its trunk to scoop up all this loose soil and then it would’ve
(strange noise) just thrown it
all over its back. And that’s what they do,
they cover themselves in dust or mud to keep cool
in the middle of the day. So, I’m standing in a
front foot right here. Here’s the other foot,
another front foot that’s massive in circumference. And then back here you’ve
got the two back feet. That is a huge animal. – Do you think it
could be our tusker? – Could it be the tusker? Look. He probably came
right down this track. Check this out. Broken branches. Looks like he went
right through this. That snapped off,
check that out. So he just barrelled
through the underbrush right across the
road and it looks like he’s headed
in that direction. Alright, guys. I
think now we need to turn the vehicle around,
head the other way. We are getting close to
finding the elephants. (Guitar music) Fresh environmental
indicators simply meant that an elephant had
recently been in this area. Was it the big tusker? Or was
it simply another rogue male? Regardless of the
answers, it felt as if we were getting close
to having an encounter. Elephants have one of
the most well-developed senses of smell in
the animal kingdom. They are also very in tune
with their environments and are capable of
detecting low vibrations with their ears,
feet, and trunk tips. What this ultimately
means (car engine) is that the animal
we are tracking certainly knows well in advance
that humans are approaching. And despite boasting
an impressive size, this giant can
mysteriously disappear like a phantom into
the shadowy underbrush without us ever
knowing it was there. Well this is good news, guys. We’ve seen some signs now,
tracks and elephant droppings. We’re headed up into
an open grassland here and I’m keeping my
fingers crossed. I’m hoping that this is where we’re gonna find the elephants. Traveling upward provided
us a higher vantage point and it wasn’t long before
we found a clearing. Stop. Stop. Stop. Where I could scan the
surrounding landscape. – See something?
– Yes, I got an elephant. Up there on the ridge.
Mario, zoom all the way in at the top crust of
that ridge right there. It’s almost silhouetted
against the sky. Hundred percent. That’s an
elephant and it looks big. You think we can get up there? – [Jo] Yeah, definitely.
– Okay. Alright guys, hold on. We’re headed up the
side of that mountain. From this distance, it
was impossible to tell whether or not we had set
sights on the big tusker. The only certainty was
that we had honed in on the location of a
giant. The next challenge would be getting close
enough to have an encounter. So right now we’re
looking for trees moving or we’re listening with our ears to see if we can
hear them trumpeting. Now the male was with another, we don’t know if it was a
female or a sub-adult male. Just keep your eyes peeled
guys, we are getting close. Timing was everything
as Jo navigated the rocky roads with
hasty precision. A rush of adrenaline
coursed through my veins as the crew and I rode
in an unusual silence. I can’t be certain what it
was. I just had this feeling. Something was telling
me that we were approaching a moment in
time that would forever be held as one of the
most unforgettable animal encounters of our lives. This is intense guys,
the bull is right here on the other side
of these trees. You can see the trees
moving. He might be coming straight for
us. (Branches cracking) – Something right here
as well. There’s two. (Branches cracking) – Okay, guys it seems
like the elephants are actually going the
other way down the hill. So we’re gonna try
to swing around this cluster of bushes and see
if we can get a better shot. We were so close,
yet at the same time equidistant to losing
this entire episode. Without an elephant in frame, there’d be nothing to
share with the world. Then in fearless fashion,
Jo took control of our fate as she steered us toward
a collision course with the unimaginable. I see the tusks.
– See ’em? – Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– Yeah. – [Jo] There you
go. There you go. – Coming out right there.
We watched in silence. The treetops dancing
as something massive crashed through the underbrush. Then almost as if manifesting
from the morning haze, the shape of an elephant
began to materialize. Look at this one, coming
out, revealing itself. That’s incredible. (soft
piano music) Hi buddy. With confidence the young
male approached the vehicle. His display was
intimidating and as a human I don’t think I have
ever felt so small. Wow. Looking down the
length of his trunk past those proudly
displayed tusks and into those intelligent eyes, I could see that he was
sizing up the situation. A challenging, yet
curious demeanor that was in no way aggressive. We see you, there you
go. That’s a good boy. Trust me when I say that my
heart has never raced so fast. Oh, there’s another one. Standing there on the
back of that vehicle, I mustered every
ounce of courage I had to feel no fear in the
presence of this wild elephant. You stay big boy.
(dramatic music swell) We looked at each
other, eyes locked. Neither willing to back down
to the other’s challenge Despite the fact that
this animal could crush the vehicle and
all of us if it chose to. Yet, in that moment there
was no battle to be had and instead we made
a warm connection that I never dreamed possible. There you go, good
boy, good boy. Oh, look at this guy. He’s
sittin’ down back there. For as brave as I
like to believe I am, this young bull
clearly realized that we were nothing but mere humans and squishing us was certainly
not worth the effort. So he decided to tussle
with someone his own size. (Dramatic music) Look
at ’em. Look at ’em. Butting heads.
Tusks intertwined. This is a display of territorial
dominance right here. The following moment seemed
to play out in slow motion as these two titans
crashed into each other. The ground beneath us
shook, the trees swayed and with the magnitude
of elephants, literally elephants, a
battle of epic proportions played out before our very eyes. Suddenly we found ourselves in an incredibly dangerous
position as the smaller male decided to use our land
cruiser as a barrier. – [Jo] Uh-uh. Hey. Go on! – [Coyote] When
Jo means business- – [Jo] Hey.
– [Coyote] she means business. – [Jo] Hey!
– [Coyote] And as we watched, hearts pounding from our chests, the elephants took
their differences and rumbled down into
the forest, disappearing
out of sight. Sweet.
– Hell of an elephant. – Right in the middle
of an elephant fight. You had the land cruiser right
in between the two of them. It was interesting, I
thought they were going to use the land cruiser
as a dividing line like they did with
the trees earlier but you had this larger male
that’s driving the smaller one back there into the underbrush. That was crazy. Probably
gonna make a little outtake in the episode, isn’t it?
– Oh, yeah. (laughter) – [Coyote] That was intense.
(High five) That was awesome. Wow. (Upbeat orchestral music)
How incredible was that? Tracking elephants
across the grasslands and we finally find them
hidden down in the underbrush and have an encounter that
I don’t think any of us could have ever prepared for. I’m Coyote Peterson,
be brave, stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure Since 1979, African
elephants have lost over 50% of their range
due to human encroachment. And this, along with poaching
for ivory over the decades has caused the population
to greatly decline. Yet tireless
conservation efforts by reserves such as
Kariega have helped to establish strong
breeding populations that thankfully have
driven the comeback of this beautiful giant. The African elephant is a force
of nature unlike any other, and to witness the magnificence
of these animals in the wild is a sight one
will never forget. With team morale at
an all time high, we descended back into the
valley thinking our journey had come to its storybook
close. Yet much to our splendor as we rounded a bend in the
rocky road, there he was. Standing like a mountain
in all of his glory, the one and only, big tusker. Stay tuned for the
unbelievable conclusion as we managed to get
the cameras up close with Kariega’s most
iconic bull elephant. And don’t forget,
subscribe, then click the notification bell so
you can join me and the crew on our next wild
adventure. (animal calls)

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