Because it can, and nobody else is big enough to tell it to leave.
I woke up on our last morning at South Luangwa National Park and was about to head over to the lounge to check my email when a large shadow loomed behind me in the early dawn. I turned around. An elephant, closing in quickly.
I was on the other side of Morgan’s tent, so I said calmly and with authority, “Morgan, DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR TENT. THERE IS AN ELEPHANT.”
Then calmly and with authority, I bolted.
As I looked back in bemusement and awe and not a small amount of trepidation, the elephant loped steadily right between the ten-foot gap between Morgan’s tent and mine. I had to pinch myself to make sure this was really happening.
This is a commonplace occurrence at Croc Valley Lodge, the staff breezily assured us as we spent the next hour watching, mouths agape and camera shutters flashing, as four elephants casually stripped leaves off of the adjacent trees.