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Ape Alliance Chairman Ian Redmond Survives Elephant Attack


Montag, 27 Juni 2016 09:23 Ape Alliance News

Is this the terrifying moment that shows cruelty of humans has turned elephants against us? Heart-stopping video emerges after a respected British naturalist narrowly survives a shocking charge in the jungle

  • Experienced conservationist Ian Redmond was attacked by angry elephant
  • Incident happened on Mount Elgon on border between Kenya and Uganda
  • Mr Redmond had been trying to film mother and baby elephant 
  • He avoided its tusks but was 'kicked around like a football' by the beast 

 

  • To donate to Born Free’s Save The Mount Elgon Elephants Appeal, visit bornfree.org.uk/give/save-the-mount-elgon-elephants

 

Looking back over his shoulder, Ian Redmond could see the 8ft-tall, four-ton bull elephant charging towards him at ferocious speed. 

Glancing around, he realised his options were severely limited: there were no trees to climb and there was no way of outrunning the beast, capable of up to 25mph.

Within seconds, the angry elephant was upon him, ears flapping wildly and sharp tusks gleaming, and the air was filled with the huge animal’s deafening trumpet sound.

In an attempt to avoid being pierced by its tusks, Redmond rolled under the elephant but soon found himself being kicked around like a football. 

Animal campaigner Ian Redmond is charged by an elephant 
 
Experienced conservationist Ian Redmond was attacked by an African elephant, pictured, on Mount Elgon on the border between Kenya and Uganda
Mr Redmond, who has worked closely with Sir David Attenborough, managed to escape the attack and film it

Mr Redmond, who has worked closely with Sir David Attenborough, managed to escape the attack and film it

He now believes usually-docile elephants see humans as enemies as a result of the attack, pictured

He now believes usually-docile elephants see humans as enemies as a result of the attack, pictured

He was 'kicked around like a football' by the beast and it is the first time in 40 years he has been hurt by a wild animal

Incredibly, he not only managed to escape with his life but also film the terrifying attack. 

In his remarkable footage, a serene family of elephants is first seen plodding along in the distance before a huge male spots Redmond and decides to charge, knocking him to the ground.

Yet he is no naive safari tourist who ignored warnings not to stray into dangerous territory. 

He is a very experienced conservationist who co-founded Born Free’s famous Elefriends campaign and has worked closely with Gorillas In The Mist environmentalist Dian Fossey and Sir David Attenborough. He was awarded an OBE in 2006.

Despite his years of experience, he was left shaken by the incident, in which he could so easily have been crushed to death. 

But what has really disturbed him is the chilling conclusions he has drawn about the unprovoked attack.

Redmond believes that elephants, not normally prone to acts of aggression, now see humans as the enemy.

He says the animal, later named ‘Kali the Courageous Tusker’ by Redmond and his colleagues, charged deliberately after suffering a previous trauma at the hands of poachers.

‘I’ve been given a friendly thump by a gorilla and had close encounters with elephants,’ Redmond says. 

‘But this is the first time in 40 years that I’ve been hurt by a wild animal. The real point is not that I survived an elephant attack, it’s why did this elephant attack? 

'What does it say about the state of elephant conservation when normally peaceful animals suddenly change?’

Recuperating back home in Stroud, Gloucestershire, the 62-year-old – sporting well-worn safari shorts – seems in good spirits.

Mr Redmond, pictured, was awarded an OBE in 2006 and worked closely with Gorillas In The Mist environmentalist Dian Fossey 

Mr Redmond, pictured, was awarded an OBE in 2006 and worked closely with Gorillas In The Mist environmentalist Dian Fossey 

The home he shares with his therapist wife, Caroline, 61, contains many books on animals, ten of which he has written. 

The Born Free shirt he wears is his favourite. He had it on during the attack and it still bears Kali’s muddy footprints.

The father of twin boys, now in their 30s, was born in Malaysia but returned to Yorkshire as a toddler. 

He is perhaps best known for assisting Fossey, whose famous study of Rwandan mountain gorillas was portrayed in the 1988 film Gorillas In The Mist.

Such was his influence on the story, he spent a memorable night teaching Sigourney Weaver, who played Fossey, how to grunt like a gorilla. 

He also held the microphone for Attenborough during his famous gorilla film for the 1979 series Life On Earth.

When we meet he is full of mirth despite his injuries, but he also has a serious point to make: elephants are having more negative experiences with humans than ever before.

And he says that this, combined with past memories of family members being slaughtered for ivory, is having a lasting psychological effect on them and turning some against humans.

In February, British tourist Gareth Crowe, 36, was killed after being thrown from an elephant that turned on its handler during a trek in Thailand. 

It is thought about 500 people a year are killed by African elephants.

‘Often you see videos on YouTube of elephants chasing vehicles,’ says Redmond. ‘There’s a recent one of Arnold Schwarzenegger being chased in a car while on safari.’

He had been on Mount Elgon, which borders Kenya and Uganda, attempting to film a mother and baby elephant when the attack happened.

On the first day, Redmond and the mountain’s elephant monitoring team spotted a group of about 40 within a couple of hours’ walk from a ranger station. The herd seemed agitated.

Next day they followed the herd to a grassy glade from where they could observe at a safe distance. 

Redmond noticed they were moving in tight formation, their pace quickening at the sound of human voices. One elephant, who was drinking, spotted the team and broke ranks to check them out.

It then returned to the safety of the herd and, Redmond believes, communicated the humans’ presence to the other elephants.

He recalls: ‘The females walked on ahead but the last elephant of the group, a bull aged about 30, peeled off.

 

'He didn’t look angry or agitated, but started to run at us with his ears out and trunk up. The books say this display is a bluff. 

'We backed off but he didn’t stop. Turns out not all elephants have read the books.

‘As he closed in on me, it was like time slowed. My hand went up to his face. I remember his cold, hard tusk against my knuckle and the softness of his upper lip.’

The impact sent Ian reeling in a backwards roll, and he found himself upside down underneath Kali. ‘There was a confused few seconds during which he played football with me. His feet were very muddy.

‘I was quiet throughout – he’d knocked the air out of me. The rangers said I was then kicked out from under him before he came back to squash me.’

Redmond lay on the grass and heard the crack of the rangers’ guns shooting in the air. The elephant immediately fled. 

Redmond managed to stand but his neck hurt. Fearing a spinal injury, his team crafted a stretcher from poles and jackets and made the agonising two-hour journey down the mountain before driving to the nearest hospital.

It is thought around 500 people are killed in African elephant (pictured) attacks each year

It is thought around 500 people are killed in African elephant (pictured) attacks each year

He had partially dislocated his shoulder, had soft-tissue damage and suffered severe bruising to his ribs and sternum but had not broken any bones. 

Seven weeks on, he is still in pain but recovering well. He knows he is incredibly lucky to be alive.

‘I was fortunate to avoid the pointy bits and the weight,’ he says. 

‘I survived because the ranger fired that gun. I’m told that Kali had turned and was coming to gore me.’ 

Redmond says: ‘Something frightened Kali. All the rangers had guns – maybe the smell triggered a memory? 

'Perhaps he has seen his friends killed by poachers. It’s not just what you do, it’s what the last person the elephant has met has done.’

A number of research papers have published findings that, like humans, elephants suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Redmond agrees that this is not an unreasonable argument, but insists that elephants, who supposedly never forget, can learn to trust again, adding: ‘Elephants have shown themselves capable of mirror recognition – they have a complex multi-layered society.’

And he says: ‘What happened to me is a symptom of a problem. We have to tackle the problem.’

  • To donate to Born Free’s Save The Mount Elgon Elephants Appeal, visit bornfree.org.uk/give/save-the-mount-elgon-elephants




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3660029/Is-terrifying-moment-shows-cruelty-humans-turned-elephants-against-Heart-stopping-video-emerges-respected-British-naturalist-narrowly-survives-shocking-charge-jungle.html#ixzz4ClpBf9iT 
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