A photographer on safari at the Erindi Game Reserve in Namibia witnessed a colossal encounter that turned violent between two of the world’s largest mammals. A mother hippo, one of the most dangerous animals on earth, became defensive when a massive elephant got too close to her hippo baby.
Thankfully, it not only ended without bloodshed but the cameraman came away with some incredible photos to show for it.
The photographer, Quintus Strauss, was at the safari lodge when he saw a baby hippo playing with its mother near a waterway, according to Storytrender. “On the first day, in the early morning, we went on a game drive and returned to the lodge for breakfast,” he shared. “The restaurant overlooks the dam and there were hippo with a new born baby.”
The photographer took several pictures of the quaint scene, and all was peaceful, yet within minutes, the situation took an unexpected and shocking turn when an angry elephant could be heard approaching in the water.
Strauss recounted what happened:
“After breakfast I went to my room which was also overlooking the dam and downloaded my photos from the morning.
“I then heard an elephant trumpeting and water splashing so went on my balcony and saw the elephant chasing the mother hippo.”
Strauss went back inside, grabbed his camera, and returned outside again. He then witnessed the huge elephant approach the baby and splash it with water. It then got right up close to the calf, dipping its head down until it was near eye level with the tiny baby hippo to get a closer look.
However, the mother hippo was not about to leave her calf at the mercy of the large and aggressive elephant, as Strauss explained. Then the situation got violent.
“The hippo mother came back and then got into a fight with the elephant—she protected her baby and the elephant got hurt on its upper trunk,” the photographer recounted. “I think the hippos teeth got him.”
The hippo mother, with her large powerful jaws and teeth, successfully fought off the much larger trunked intruder from harming the tiny helpless baby. After the momentary skirmish, and after the elephant sustained what Strauss described as an injury to its trunk, the violence subsided.
“Everything went calm afterwards and the mother and baby went their own way,” he said. Video footage taken after the battle shows the mother hippo in the water withdrawing from the conflict with her baby in tow.