Can you think back to the bravest thing you’ve ever done? For one man, it was staring down a wild elephant. As a wilderness guide, Alan McSmith was no stranger to the animals in nature, but this situation quickly caught him off guard. Face to face with an elephant that was ready to charge at him, McSmith made a courageous decision that ultimately changed his life.
Elephants are some of the largest mammals on the planet Earth. They form deep family bonds and can always be spotted in their herds. Their intelligence levels are high and they really do have amazing memories.
Image: The Economist
As one of the largest mammals, you can already expect that them to weigh a ton! In fact, they can often weigh between 6,000 to 13,000 pounds. Some elephants even reach as tall as 11 feet. Elephants are certainly not the type of mammal you’d like to mess with.
Despite their huge size, elephants are generally social and patient creatures. However, if you do happen to come across an elephant that’s had a bad day, you may just be in for some trouble. That was the exact case with Alan McSmith when he stumbled across a wild elephant.
17. Alan McSmith
Alan McSmith is a nature guide and founder of Wilderness Vision. He has worked as a professional guide for around 30 years now and he loves what he does. You won’t believe some of the places he’s guided people through.
16. Around the World
McSmith had led trails and safaris through tons of different regions. Some of the places he’s served as a guide include Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Swaziland. For the majority of his career, the tour guides have been pleasant without any worrisome troubles.
15. Risky Business
Throughout his years as a safari guide, McSmith has gained confidence and knowledge in dealing and approaching nature. There is always a risk when going off into the wild and McSmith has always acknowledged it. Then one day a huge risk showed up…
14. One Day
On one particular day, McSmith and his cameraman were roaming through the wilderness just like they would any other day. There was nothing unusual about the setting, until McSmith noticed something huge in the not so far distance. It was there he made eye contact…
13. Eyes Locked
Off in the distance was a huge wild elephant and McSmith had just locked eyes with it. His cameraman still had the camera running and caught the interaction as it occurred. McSmith quickly stood still as he and the elephant faced off.
Image: Daily Mail
McSmith continued to stand very still as he and the elephant faced off. Then suddenly, the elephant began to charge at him. He and the cameraman had no idea that the elephant would try to strike so suddenly and a decision had to be made.
11. Nerves of Steel
Image: Daily Mail
Despite seeing an enormous elephant about to charge at him, McSmith did his best to remain calm and think the situation through. At this point the elephant was approximately 20 feet away and the two still kept their gaze. Then the elephant moved forward again…
10. Weapon of Choice
At this point, it was obvious that the elephant was going to charge at McSmith. Thinking on his feet, McSmith quickly picked up a stick from the ground and flung it around in the air in order to intimidate the elephant. He even did the unthinkable after that…
9. Step Forward
Image: Boing Boing
In order to show the elephant that he wasn’t intimidated, McSmith took a few steps forward with the stick in his hands. Once again, the two stand their ground – much closer now than before. Then the elephant seemed to turn away…
8. False Call
For a second, McSmith thought that he had intimidated the elephant enough as the mammal turned away. However, the elephant turned back once more and was charging. It was at this point that McSmith knew he had to keep up his bravado.
7. The Stick
Image: switch news
With the stick in hand, McSmith began to move it around steadily and slowly to show the elephant who was boss. Thanks to this huge display of confidence, the elephant began to slowly back away from the situation. McSmith was relieved and continued on his journey for the day.
After the encounter, McSmith uploaded the video onto YouTube for everyone to see. However, despite his display of confidence he made sure to warn viewers not to follow his actions in a similar predicament. He left a very long explanation under the video for all to read.
5. All Real
“The video, filmed on a wilderness trail, is a one-in-a-million encounter. It is authentic and the elephant is wild, not trained. Neither are there any AK47s, snipers or nuclear warheads behind me,” McSmith explained in the comments section of the video.
Image: Daily Mail
“As a wilderness guide I strive to avoid confrontations with wild animals, and in 30 years of guiding, have never deliberately provoked one. The default reaction of wild animals, including big game, is to avoid encounters with humans,” McSmith continued.
He even continued to say that he would not do things differently in the same situation.
3. No Changes
“With all the hindsight in the world, would not have done anything differently. I did not get myself into a situation, I got myself and our trail party out of one. How evenly the bull walks away at the end, comfortable enough to turn his back on us, is a testament to this.”
2. Real Warning
“I would NEVER suggest that anyone tries this! If you are a guide then I urge you to use extreme caution whilst walking . . . Therefore I urge you all to look beyond and recognize the significance of meaningful wilderness encounters,” McSmith urged viewers.
1. Brave Man
Image: Kosmos Journal
It was true bravery and an understanding of the nature of the wilderness that allowed McSmith and his party to walk away unscathed. Be sure to share this adventurous story with your friends and family so they can learn more about elephants and the nature of the wild!