When we set up the camera-trap it was a leopard that I was after. One was known to live in this part of Welgevonden Game Reserve and I thought my chances of photographing it were slight - but possible. My  guests on the camera-trapping safari (see previous post) were optimistic.

I swopped out the memory card a few days later and the only images were those of a game-viewing vehicle cruising past.

However when we went to collect the camera shortly before leaving the reserve we knew we might have a problem. A large breeding herd of elephants had spent time in the area - the signs were everywhere.

And sure enough........the camera was gone. The webbing strap remained on the tree which now sported some fresh damage to its bark:
So we started looking for the camera and, miraculously, eventually found it some distance away. It wasn't in a good state but the SD card looked unscathed. This is what it showed:

The first sign of trouble........ very big trouble! Note the time at bottom right.

The elephant gets up close.......
.....but then appears to lose interest...........
......only to return again. I am making an assumption that this is the same animal.
........and spent more time examining the camera, very closely.
The camera and strap/tree then parted company (note to Bushnell...you need to strengthen the strap brackets on the back of the camera!).The camera obviously took a traumatic, but not lethal, blow because the date/time got reset. This was the image that followed that clearly showed the camera being carried by the ellie. It's being held in the elephants trunk while aimed upwards at its mouth, tusks and ears......
The elephant appears to have carried the camera for about a minute before dropping it - which caused it to  trigger one final time. Then it was all over!
I don't know whether the same elephant delivered the coup de grace or another one that was following. But that's fairly academic because this is what we found the following morning:
 


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