Day 6: March 9th – Wild pig again, and a herd of banteng and a tuskless bull elephant pose for the camera
After breakfast, I drove a kilometer with a forest ranger in tow to look after me and parked in the forest. I thenwalked for a half hour to Huai Mae Dee, a tributary of the Huai Kha Khaeng. A permanent photo-blind is erected across from a mineral lick, also visited by all the large mammals.
After an hour and slightly down stream, a single wild pig was having a great time wallowing in the mud by the bank in the mid-day heat. After awhile, this female ungulate got closer as I continued to photograph her. It was the first time I had ever seen a female by herself. Mostly, they are in herds and only the large male boars live solitary lives.
A short time later, a fairly large herd of banteng appeared on a sandbar downstream from the blind. They were just hanging out taking in the sun’s rays and chewing their cud. The cattle then scattered as a huge tuskless bull elephant popped out on the sandbar. He was following a female, probably in heat judging from his actions. The bull did not stay long and actually came up on our side of the river disappearing into the bush, which was a bit unnerving.
At 6pm as darkness fell, our ranger came to help me carry some equipment back actually bumped into the bull elephant but it went crashing off luckily for us. At close quarters, these old cantankerous giants can be extremely dangerous to people and in fact two persons including a ranger and a villager have recently been killed by a tuskless bull in the sanctuary not far from the headquarters. It pays to stay out of their way.