In a hair-raising video currently doing the rounds online, a routine training activity took a frightening turn when a bull elephant charged at a vehicle carrying wildlife-guiding students working in South Africa's Selati Game Reserve. Another clip captured from a second vehicle shows the trainees scrambling to safety as the elephant continues to approach the game-viewer, before it appears to retreat and move off.

According to a statement released by EcoTraining – the field guide training company whose students were involved in the incident – the instructors and trainees came across a breeding herd of elephants while on a standard training activity. "The vehicle stopped to observe the elephants and give them a chance to settle down," the company explained on Facebook. "An elephant bull, who was with the breeding herd, mock charged the vehicle. The elephant bull mock charged again, when they moved forward slowly, and then made contact with the game drive vehicle and displaced it off the road. Once the vehicle had come to a standstill, the trainees were moved to the second vehicle that was parked in close proximity."

The bull was reportedly in musth, a hormonal state associated with breeding that's characterised by heightened levels of testosterone and may result in bulls acting more aggressively.

Bryan Havemann, general manager of Selati Game Reserve, added: "Although the vehicle was damaged, thankfully, none of the people [in] the vehicle were injured." It's unclear if the elephant suffered any ill-effects as a result of the attack.

EcoTraining confirmed that all involved in the incident have since received professional counseling.

Top header image: Brittany H., Flickr