A video shared on a social media recorded the moment when two adult and one baby elephant raided the breakfast buffet at a tourist lodge in Zambia. Conversation between the tourists added a comical element to the video. Though the elephants only damaged hotel property, the situation could have ended up much worse as the human-animal conflict in Zambia is on the rise. The drought-stricken nation has both animals and humans in despair.
A group of American tourists seemed to have come too close for comfort with elephants in Zambia. Certain popular tourist lodges have animal pathways going through them. These strategic pathways allow animals access to their natural routes while allowing tourists a close encounter with the animals. These lodges safety precautions ensure the safety guests and animals.
However, the recent drought conditions in Zambia has forced animals to come in contact with humans more frequently. The open dining space of the unnamed hotel was spread out to feed the tourists and not the elephants.
A Reddit video showed the incident where the guests were interrupted when a wild elephant joined them for breakfast. Soon, the adult elephant was joined by another adult and a calf. The video also recorded a second calf lurking near the dining room. The second calf looked fearful of the humans present and chose not to join the rest of its family in the raid.
Plates and glasses were heard breaking as the elephants went through the buffet spread. Once they had inspected the buffet, they came dangerously close to the tourists. Knocking down coffee cups and stealing toast from the tables, the elephants had their way for a couple of minutes before walking away.
While one of the tourists whispered that she found the situation funny, another did not find it so amusing. He told the lady to shut up and that the elephants were a threat. People commenting on the video seemed to agree with the woman who found the situation funny.
However, in a country where 2.3 million people and thousands of animals are dying of starvation and the lack of water, human-animal interaction has turned dangerous. Elephants at the lodge may have been used to seeing tourists so they did not react violently. In other parts of the country, villagers are forced to guard their homes and fields at night. The hungry and thirsty elephants break fences and homes to find food. Many villagers end up getting trampled while trying to fend off the desperate creatures.
While the World Wildlife Fund blames climate change for the drought, they are also trying to mitigate the conflict by using tracking collars on the elephants in the region.