vEcotours Ambassador Ian Redmond re-lives the moment he was charged by a four-tonne elephant in a new article for National Geographic.
“There is some irony in this – that the person who coined the term ‘elefriends’ should be trampled by a decidedly unfriendly elephant – but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t personal,” Ian jokes, as he recalls the unexpected encounter at Mount Elgon Forest Reserve, which took place earlier this year.
Ian, who caught the charge on film, was visiting Kenya in April to watch President Kenyatta of Kenya and President Bongo of Gabon set fire to 105 tonnes of ivory — Kenya’s largest ever ivory stockpile burn. After the burn he joined the Mount Elgon Elephant Monitoring Team — the MEEM Team, made up of local community trackers and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers — to check up on the elephant population of Mt Elgon, which is best-known for its underground salt-mining habits!
Elgon is the only place in the world where salt-hungry herbivores venture deep into the dark zone of caves to visit subterranean salt-licks — and was featured in the BBC series Life of Mammals with Sir David Attenborough, back in 2001.
Ian Redmond has been studying the elephant population there since 1980, and whilst he has faced many ‘bluff’ charges, this was a rare (and unforgettable) moment of contact which left him with a partially dislocated left shoulder and “soft tissue damage” to his neck and chest. Miraculously, however, he suffered no broken bones! In his National Geographic article, Ian speculates why the incident may have happened.
Visit the Mount Elgon elephants from the safety of your home
If you’d like to learn more about the habits and behaviours of the Mt Elgon elephants — the world’s only “Troglodyte Tuskers” — you can visit them virtually by taking an immersive 360-degree tour deep into the dark zone of caves at this unique location! Venture nearly 200m, or 650ft, deep into Kitum Cave, beneath bats roosting overhead, on a guided tour hosted by Ian Redmond himself, with no risk of being charged!