When a tourist went on a solo Adventure in Africa, he would spot something that would change his life. Damien Vano, 43, spotted something strange on an elephant’s back. When he took a closer look, he couldn’t believe his eyes. But would Daman still be in time to call the police?
With a helicopter in the air and tourist Damien and his guide in a vehicle on the ground, they were chasing the herd of elephants down as quickly as they possibly could. If Damien was right in what he had seen, there would be no time to lose.
They eventually encountered the herd again at a small water basin, far removed from any civilization. They had to be careful now, as they did not want to spook the animals. But Damen quickly saw that they were luckily not too late, at least not yet.
Now that he was sure of what he had seen, he immediately called the police. He knew they could not do this alone and maybe they did not have much of a choice. But what did Damian spot among the elephants? Why did the police have to get involved, and would they be able to bring this mission to a successful end?
Elephants are thought to have a mystical character, a kind of intelligence that we as humans hardly know anything about yet. Since they are the world’s largest mammals on land, most people see the animals as gentle giants.
Yet the locals that have to deal with elephants on a regular basis are far more aware of the potential danger they possess. A group of elephants had been repeatedly causing havoc in South Africa for a while now. They mainly seemed to target the small villages, destroying things around, plundering all the food they could get their trunk on.
Apart from the damage they caused, they sometimes were stealing items from the villages as well. In the most recent action, the elephants pulled such a stunt that they actually took something very valuable with them.
The infamous herd left the local village devastated, while the villagers had no means of chasing the elephants. It happened at the edge of a rural area with no major cities around, a place at which no authorities felt involved enough that they were going to help them.
The villagers needed a miracle, which came to them in the form of a tourist named Damian. Damian is a hard-working millionaire that would plan an exotic solo adventure every few years. It was his lifelong dream to go on a month-long trip alone in the lesser populated areas of southern Africa.
Thus, he had been planning this for quite some time. He was heading for the outskirts of the African planes. While most people opt to go for such a safari by means of a four-wheel drive, Damian went for another option. Perhaps a Jeep would get you closer to the animals, but Damian had a clear goal for this month.
The millionaire traveler was not completely alone on his mission. He was making the personal helicopter journey with a local guide. Included in the package was the service for the entire day, meaning that they also had the time to land the helicopter a few times a day to see the animals up close from above.
With Damian’s aerial perspective and the guide’s experience, the animals would be fairly easy to find. Soon enough, they found a large and active herd of elephants. Damian was excited to cross off the first item on his list, bringing him closer to his goal.
He took out his 600mm lens and looked at a couple of them in his camera viewfinder. When suddenly, he saw something else in the herd. There was no doubt in his mind; he had to see this from up close. So he immediately instructed the helicopter pilot to bring the machine down at a safe distance.
They landed as fast as possible. But when they landed, it appeared there was a problem. The herd was already much further away from them than they expected.
The tour guide explained to Damian that the herd was already on the move the moment they spotted them from above. Not only was Damian stressed about the situation, but the local guide was visibly tense as well.
It turned out to be a difficult wait, as other animals were on the lurk, and not just some animals. A couple of lions had slowly approached the two after the helicopter had taken off. If the guide would not have had a gun with which he could fire a warning shot, who knows how he and Damian could have ended up?
Thirty minutes passed before the car finally arrived to pick them up. Was there any point in chasing the herd after they had been stuck here for such a long time? The two weren’t sure anymore.
Damian decided to turn on the radio cars and attempted to get in contact with the helicopter pilot, hoping that he still had eyes on the elephant herd. To Damian’s relief, it did not take more than a couple of seconds to hear someone at the other end of the line.
It was the pilot’s voice, explaining that he had eyes again on the herd and that they were not even that far away. The group had stopped at a small water basin only a few kilometers away. And he had more good news to tell.
The pilot continued by explaining that as far as he could make out from all the way up in the sky, the elephants were still having something very unusual with them. Yet, he could not make out exactly what it was, while he was quite sure that it was the same thing that alerted Damian in the first place.
Damian’s heart started to beat heavily again. They were trying to drive as fast as they possibly could. A little later, they were able to spot the basin at a distance.
The safari truck driver suggested to park the vehicle on a flat field behind a tree line close to the herd, and so they did this. What they now had was somewhat of a vantage point to see the elephants. Finally, Damian could have a closer look at the group of giant mammals.
He opened his backpack and grabbed his monoculars. First through the trees, Damian checked whether he was able to spot the elephant that stood out to him from the helicopter. Within a few seconds, he had a view of it already, as well as the thing that was still on the elephant’s back.
Damian could hardly believe what he saw. There was a young boy on the elephant’s back. Now that he knows for sure, Damian calls the local police, and they end up rescuing the young boy and bringing him back to the village from which the elephants took him. Luckily, he is still in good health.