Safari rangers find giant elephant dead on top of a squashed crocodile after collapsing from illness at a park in Zambia
- African Elephant carcass found on a squashed crocodile at Island Bush Camp
- Images were posted to Kafunta Safari Facebook page after a safari guide found it
- Believed crocodile followed the injured mammal out of river before it collapsed
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
The elephant carcass and crocodile underneath were found by a safari guide at the Island Bush Camp next to the Luangwa River in Zambia
Horrifying images show a huge elephant carcass found on top of a squashed crocodile after the mammal collapsed.
The elephant and crocodile were found at the Island Bush Camp, next to the Luangwa River in Zambia, and discovered by safari guide, Andrew Mwanza, on October 8.
Photographs show the dead elephant with its legs splayed and head eaten away by hyenas with the crocodile’s front legs and tail visible underneath.
The shocking images were posted to the Kafunta Safari’s Facebook page and park authorities were called to investigate.
And the sight was deemed ‘an extremely strange situation’ because the mammal was on top of the crocodile and flattened it during the struggle.
In a Facebook post Kafunta wrote: ‘Our guide Andrew and his guests found a dead elephant, and when looking closer, found a dead crocodile underneath it!’
The park authorities were called to investigate the death of the mammal and suspected the crocodile had followed the injured elephant.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
They believed the elephant collapsed while trying to climb the bank of the Luangwa River and subsequently squashed the crocodile after falling to the ground from exhaustion.
The head of the elephant is eaten away, likely by hyenas, as the crocodile leg (bottom right) is visible underneath the splayed elephant legs
‘Park authorities didn’t find any trace of human foul play in regards to the elephant’s death. All this made for a huge and happy meal for dozens of vultures.’
Park authorities investigating the death of the elephant and crocodile
While elephants outweigh crocodiles by a considerable margin, the reptiles have attacked young or vulnerable elephants in the past.
Nile crocodiles are often seen in the Luangwa River and prey on elephants crossing the river or drinking from the banks.
The reptiles can reach up to 20ft in length and weigh up to 1,650 lbs while African Elephants can grow up to 10.8ft and weigh between 5,000 and 14,000 lbs.
Crocodiles are likely to strike and target elephants who appear young, ill or visibly injured.
Agata Staniewicz, a crocodile researcher and doctoral candidate at the University of Bristol, said: ‘Crocodiles are ambush predators, and when they lunge at an elephant they usually grab its vulnerable trunk.’
However the injured elephant may not have been able to vend off the reptile and collapsed on top of it with exhaustion, crushing the crocodile to death.
Marisa Tellez, co-founder of the Crocodile Research Coalition said: ‘From the pictures I’ve seen, the crocodile was a small sub adult or small adult, and I highly doubt it was trying to take an injured adult elephant down.
‘That seems like a lot of work for a smaller predator, and not in its favor’, she told LiveScience.
‘Of course, you will always have more bold individuals that will take more than they bargained for,’ Ms Tellez added.
‘I am also wondering if this may have been a young female defending her nest from an elephant possibly trampling all over it.’
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife and Conservation South Luangwa officials ruled out poaching after no bullets were found and said both animals appeared to be young based on their size.