A wildlife photographer captured the heart-pumping moment when a courageous elephant bravely confronted a pack of 13 wild dogs to protect her herd.
Mithun Hunugund, from Bengaluru, southern India, was on safari in Nagarhole National Park when he witnessed a pack of Asiatic wild dogs attempting to ambush two baby elephants.
He recorded the courageous mother elephant charging towards the dogs, using her trunk to swing and pounce on the ground, and attempting to fend off the predators with her powerful kicks.
Asiatic wild dogs attempted to am.bush two young elephant calves in Nagarhole National Park
The female elephant ran at the dogs, swinging her trunk, pawing the ground, and attempting to ki.ck the pre.dators away
The ang.ry four-tonne female then charged at the 13 wild dogs to s.care them off (pictured)
Mr. Hunugund, 29, said: ‘As we sat in the car with the covers unwrapped we heard the hordes of Bonnet macaques all around us going haywire.
As we went a little further to find out what was causing them an.xiety, we saw a herd of 10 females and two calves gathering in the road and something walking towards them at a distance.
It was a pack of 13 wild dogs on a h.unt that were scouring the woods for prey. The elephant herd has two small calves and because of the large size of the herd, they were potential prey.
The first thing they tried to do was create chaos and try to separate the calves from the a.dults – it was a stre.ssful moment for all of us.
Mr. Hunugund watched a.dult elephants create a bar.rier between their young and pre.dators before the four-ton female ru.shed in.
Asiatic wild dogs, also known as Dholes, are known for their effective h.unting tactics and will eat both much smaller and larger prey.
The slightly built dogs, smaller than the average domestic ca.nines, are en.dan.gered animals with smaller bree.ding numbers than wild tigers.
Mr. Hunugund said: ‘Once the herd realized that dogs were around, they formed an impenetrable wall by surrounding both calves.
A group of wild dogs attempted to ambush a young elephant calf in an Indian forest, as shown in the center of the picture.
During the incident, a member of the elephant herd decided to distract the dogs by following them on her own, allowing the rest of the herd to move to safety.
She lunged at the dogs and kicked wet mud on each one of them.
It’s hard not to worry about the safety of the young elephant calves.
At the end of the day, it’s the law of the jungle, and some creatures have to die in order for others to survive.
If the dogs don’t hunt, not only will they starve, but their puppies will also depend on them – it’s a thin line.
According to Mr. Hunugund, the brave efforts of the elephant paid off and eventually the herd withdrew from the pack.
The slightly-built dog’s Asiatic Wild dogs which at.tacked the elephants are smaller than medium-sized domestic ca.nines and an en.dan.gered animal with a smaller bree.ding population than wild tigers
According to Mr. Hunugund, the elephant’s courageous efforts were successful and the pack eventually retreated from the herd. The photographer, who has a particular interest in leopards, has traveled extensively with other nature enthusiasts to capture wildlife.
Nagarhole National Park, named after the river that flows through its center, boasts a diverse population of wildlife.
“Living in a city like Bengaluru is a blessing for a wildlife enthusiast like me,” Mr. Hunugud remarked. Having been born and raised in the jungle, his love for wildlife developed at a young age and has only grown with time.