In the Terminator film series, Arnold Schwarzzenegger endures a barrage of bullets and even takes a spear to the chest with no problem. But in real life, the former California governor and action star may have met his match: a wild elephant.
During a visit to South Africa over Memorial Day weekend, Schwarzenegger had a brush with danger as his safari group came across a large elephant blocking the path of their vehicle. The 68-year old posted a video of the encounter to Facebook on Tuesday, writing: “I couldn’t have written this safari encounter better if it was a movie. I’m absolutely in awe of these beautiful, strong animals, even though some of us had to change our pants after this.”
The clip, which has thus far been viewed over 2 million times, shows the vehicle halted on a safari trail, its movement obstructed by the pachyderm, who takes several steps in the opposite direction as a female passenger speculates he’s “backing off because of the engine.”
“No, he’s going to charge us,” Schwarzenegger says. After retreating to the foliage just to the left of the vehicle, the elephant again approaches Schwarzenegger and his travel companions. “No, no, no, no, no, uh uh!” one passenger exclaims, just before the creature charges them from behind. The video cuts out shortly thereafter, but not before a seemingly excited Schwarzenegger exclaims: “Oh sh–!”
In the wake of a Cincinnati Zoo employee shooting and killing a 17-year old Silverback gorilla to save the life of a 4-year old boy who’d fallen into the primate’s enclosure on Saturday, Schwarzenegger used the opportunity to call attention to issues of animal preservation, specifically poaching, which resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 elephants in Africa between 2011 and 2014.
“We need to stop killing them — take a photo, not a shot. Would you rather be able to experience these creatures or a hunk of ivory? I thought so,” he said, referencing elephants in particular.
Schwarzenegger was in South Africa for an appearance at the inaugural edition of Arnold Classic Africa, the continent’s largest multi-sport festival and expo, which ran from May 27-29 at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesberg.
Watch Schwarzenegger’s close encounter with the grey-and-tusked kind in the video above.