One of the things about visiting Thailand's forests (jungle is a better descriptive term if you have never visited) is that it reminds you just what the natural order is. How mother nature's plan plays out in all its complexity and
interaction, how the planet is the base, water begets vegetation and together they provide the home for all the other lifeforms to interact. We too were part of the equation but because of our ways, we no longer belong. National Parks and Sanctuaries have had to be created to save the natural world from us. A sad reflection on us as a species.
Even though I try to use my time in the forest to do some good (raising awareness, supporting initiatives) I am still reminded once in a while that I am just a visitor and a somewhat voyeuristic visitor at that. A particular elephant(s) has taken it upon itself to remind us of this and destroyed two of our cameras and damaged another two in the last couple of months. We cannot complain, after all it is their backyard not ours.
Elephants are known to be very inquisitive and we get many shots of elephants, large and small, checking out the cameras with their trunks both alone (normally males) and in groups. About two months ago, a particluar elephant, in musth, took things a step further ripping one of the cameras, its metal enclosure and steel fastening cable from a tree and then playing football with it for 30 meters. It then proceeded directly to the next camera placed about 500 meters away and hit the enclosure from the side with such force that all the metal rivets popped and the camera fell to the floor, a ceremonial stamp was then delivered - flattening the enclosure. This was followed up 2 weeks later with the mangling of another enclosure and the total destruction of the fourth camera into its component parts (see picture).
So its time to take the hint and let this particular pachyderm have a rest from the voyeuristic human interlopers. To leave the natural cycle to regain its balance and respect the privacy of our fellow mammals.
Wild Asian Elphant in musth, just before it attacks the camera
Destroyed Camera Traps, by an Asian Elephant(s). Note the second picture shows a camera and its metal enclosure completely reduced to its component parts by the elephant.
In the following video, that was taken over a year ago and in a different location, you can get some idea of how an Asian Elephant can use its feet to attack a camera, including a reverse kick from the back, quite impressive....