An hour or two later, the elephants came back. One began tentatively pushing on Schuttler's door, while another began groping along the wall and actually pushed its trunk through a window on the other side of the room.
"At this point, I was scared, and had moved to the middle of the room," says Schuttler. And when the elephant by the door moved away, she made a break for it and ran to the room of a nearby colleague, who was also alarmed.
The two researchers lit a candle and started talking about what they should do next, if anything.
"I'm not sure if it was the candle or the fact that we were talking, but the elephants really didn't like it," Schuttler says. "They did a ‘rumble' – a very low-frequency, growling sound – and that scared us. We blew out the candle and went quiet. Not long after that, they left."
The next morning they found planks knocked out in Schuttler's room and pipes pulled out of the bathroom walls.
"It was the only time something like that had happened in the 25-year history of the park," Schuttler says. "And it hasn't happened since, that I know of. I spent months doing field work there in 2008 and 2010, but that night was an experience I'll never forget."