A member of the U.S. traveling contingent snapped the picture above, transmitted via the Associated Press.
The following is tastefully done by the AP:
RUSTENBURG, South Africa — Forget getting past England. The U.S. soccer team had to get past the elephants first.
The U.S. team was delayed twice Friday when elephants blocked the road, the second back-up coming as the squad was traveling to its training session at Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
The elephant was munching on a tree as the Americans left the Bakubung Bush Lodge, and it moved to the side of the road after about 4 minutes.
“Everybody had their cell phones out, pictures were being taken,” coach Bob Bradley said. “It was all part of the experience.”
Earlier in the afternoon, a bus carrying 10 players on their way to an open-air market at the entrance to the team hotel got stuck behind an elephant, spokesman Michael Kammarman said. Players had timed the trip to get back to the hotel in time for the start of the World Cup opener between South Africa and Mexico.
Signs outside the U.S. hotel warn: “ELEPHANTS COME CLOSE TO OUR FENCE KEEP A DISTANCE OF 30 METERS AND PLEASE BE QUIET,”
There’s this sign: “BABOONS ARE DANGEROUS — PLEASE KEEP CLEAR OF THEM AND DO NOT FEED THEM.”
And then this: “THIS IS BIG 5 TERRITORY TREAT THE ANIMALS WITH RESPECT AND THEY WILL RETURN THE COMPLIMENT.”
In a related story, several World Cup web sites are reporting that the “Big 5” referenced in that sign is in talks to add Missouri and Kansas, becoming the Big 7. Details to come.