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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:08 am 
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Interesting statistics, JR. :thumbs_up:

I have been going to Kruger for many, many years, and it has only been recently that I have noticed a new breed - call it perhaps a subspecies - of elephant in Kruger: one where the adults are often stunted in growth, where the heads are flatter and more angled, and the tusks are mostly toothpick-like. In addition, many of these herds are skittish and nervous; as an example, we recently saw one herd cowering and clustering together near Lake Panic and they were rushing around in a panic trying to cross the road.

I have no doubt that these elephants are of smaller dimensions and generally less impressive. I would be extremely surprised to learn that these are not Mozambiquan elephants who have moved across to Kruger. It would make sense that their proportions are less than the traditional Kruger elephant as one must assume that most of their large tuskers would have been poached, leaving mostly those with inferior genes.

If this is indeed the case then interbreeding between the large Kruger tuskers and smaller-statured cows should result in an increasing dilution of tusk-size and body size.

It would be interesting to hear from those who are closely involved in Kruger for the past decade or two regarding how they see this phenomenon.

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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:42 am 
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@onewithnature. IMHO, I don't think that the Moz elephants will have a negative impact on the Kruger population. On the contrary, the Kruger Bulls will be dominant when it comes to breeding and therefore ensure that the 'good' genes are carried over to future generations. I have mentioned it elsewhere that the elephants of the South Luangwa National Park are significantly smaller that our ellies because the big tuskers have all been poached.

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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:02 pm 
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Thanks everyone for adding a different perspective on this, thanks Scips for the link. :D

I thought I'd just add a few photos.


These are the Ellies OWN mentioned, they were very nervous of the cars and ran around trying to find a gap to cross the road.



A group of youngsters, also very nervous at a waterhole.
Image

A nice big Kruger bull.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:00 am 
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Okay, so the way I understand it is if you take a big bull elephants and merge him with a small (Mozambiquan) cow, it seems there should be no dilution of size and strength in the progeny?

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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:00 pm 
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From a genetic perspective, that makes little sense; however, if that is what happened, for example, in Addo, then perhaps there are aspects that need further investigation. :hmz: For example, did the new progeny fall in-between the dimensions of the Kruger and Addo ellies, or were the calves as impressive as the original Kruger stock? Let's hope that this was the case.

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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:50 pm 
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Good afternoon,

What an interesting topic!

I am NOT a scientist or nature conservationist, but merely make observations based on lots of reading plus a bit of thinking.

To me it seems as if we are talking about a myth, not reality.
1. I doubt there were ANY serious numbers of elephants left in southern Mocambique in recent years -- that is why Sanparks spent millions of Rands to try and convince a few ellies that Moz is OK - they mostly came back home!
2. Free roaming elephants in areas where there are substantial populations of people -- not likely, especially with all the poachers coming to work IN Kruger...
3. Kruger has more elephants than ever before, and you regularly hear forumites mentioning herds of more than 100 elephants at a time...
4. Kruger bulls are NOT as big and all-conquering as we think -- the 10 bulls that went to Addo, have had a VERY hard time coping with those bulls in the Eastern Cape -- in fact some of the local dominant bulls had to be removed to private game reserves (like Shamwari?) so that the GIANTS from Kruger could have a chance to mate with local cows!
They have BIG tusks yes, and they are big, but I would suspect that any elephant bull from the desert areas of Southern Africa (Kaokoveld etc) are taller on average than our Kruger bulls (3.8+m at the shoulder)....
5. Tembe elephant park was NOT connected to Mozambique when I was there 3 years ago with school kids, but they were trying to create the Futi corridor so that the fence could come down and there could be free movement of elephant across the border. Yes, those bulls are big, and have huge tusks too, just like our tuskers in Kruger....

If elephants in Kruger are scared of vehicles, then it means they have most likely moved from remote areas in Kruger down to rivers during dry seasons, and are aggressive/scared of tourists (much wilder than Addo elephants), or they have been hunted by poachers recently! Maybe a few verdwaalde ellies from Moz could have ended up in Kruger, but I suspect the numbers would be VERY low, and they would not have any serious effect on our Kruger population.

As I said, just thinking.... If you have more accurate info for us, please post it -- would love to know!

Thanks for an interesting topic, and God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

PS Elephant movements vary dramatically each season -- I have found huge herds around Orpen in December, and this past Dec hardly any around Lower Sabie. Currently Martie says there are hundreds around LS!

I was in Hwange in October last year -- saw about 100 elephants the first four days -- I thought they had all been poached out!
Next day we saw about 700 in one pm at Guvalala platform, and the next day about 500 at Nyamandlovu platform. If I had left 2 days earlier, I would have been convinced the ellies were missing, poached, dead. But wrong conclusion -- rain caused the to scatter briefly...

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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:16 pm 
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Sorry, but I cannot agree that Moz elephants are smaller than the Kruger ellies, aren`t they all African elephants? Not a different species like for instance the Indian elephants. It is possible that they havent had the same feeding opportunities that the Kruger ones are blessed with. They must obviously also be wilder and more skittish due to the past hunting history.
We have not entered Mozambique through Kruger yet, so I cannot comment on the size, condition etc. of the elephants in that part of Moz yet. We have, however, on numerous occasions seen the big herds of huge beasts in the "Reserva dos elefantes do Maputo", which lies between Ponta do Ouro, and Santa Maria near Inhaca island. We have seen large herds from the air (helicopter) as well as whilst travelling through the elephant park by road on the way to Santa Maria by means of 4x4 vehicles. The only difference that I can comment on is their behaviour, they are certainly a lot wilder, but smaller? sorry!!


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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:46 pm 
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@Sneeugans. Perhaps the elephants you are referring to have not been subjected to wild scale hunting. It has been reported in various magazines and I have seen it with my own eyes that where hunting (or poaching) took place, the size of the elephants were much smaller than in areas where there were no hunting. Hunters looked for trophy animals, i.e. animals with the biggest tusks. So what were left were the animals that the hunters were not interested in and they are the ones that were left to breed.

In a recent issue of a well known off road magazine, the authors of an article made the same observation. I have seen a picture that was taken a 100 years ago of elephant tusks laying in the streets of Port Elizabeth ready to be exported. There were 4 rows of tusks stretching as far as the eye could see and all of them would have qualified as big Kruger tuskers.

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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:24 pm 
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Siobain, I strongly disagree with your observations.

There is no way to visually differentiate Kruger elephants and Moz elephants.

Kruger elephant populations are rising steadily, true, but this is not because of an influx of Moz ellies (whose numbers must have been extremely low anyway when the fences were dropped to create the Transfrontier park.)

If you have ever been near the Mopani area in central Kruger you will not find elephants to be a scarce at all.

The 'Moz ellies are much smaller, with tiny straight little tusks and flatter, smaller heads' you refer to are surely just normal Kruger breeding herds consisting of individuals of varying ages and sizes. Female elephants always have more angular heads with smaller narrower tusks than males, and so Im pretty sure the small elephants you refer to are simply normal females of varying ages.

The decline of big tuskers on the other hand is a valid concern but not one you would have noticed a difference in in the last 10 years. If you compare today to 100 years ago, hunting has definitely been responsible for reducing the big tusk gene throughout african populations, as proved by studies showing that 100 years ago, a much higher percentage (i recall the no. to be as high as 40%) of bull elephants carried 100 pound tusks. These days Big tuskers are far rarer.


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 Post subject: Re: Elephants - Kruger versus Moz
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:50 pm 
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For elephant movements in Kruger (and elsewhere) see: http://www.savetheelephants.org/tracking.html

Michelle Henley who runs the elephant monitoring project up at Pafuri gave a very interesting presentation on the subject at Pafuri Camp last week.

Johan


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 Post subject: Re: Elephant
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:17 am 
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Hi all, does anyone know what could cause this "droopy ear" defect of this ellie seen at Nsemani dam near Satara. I know there was a bull elephant seen at Satara webcam with the same defect, don't know what happened to him though.....

Image
Droopy ear by twigga2011, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: Elephant
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Ello, unfortunately I don't have an answer to the floppy ear, but if anyone does please mention, it is a rather weird occurrence.

Here are a few picks from the last visit to Kruger. We spent one afternoon parked next to Klopperfontein dam where we were fortunate to watch a group of 5 elephant playing in the water for hours.

Image
Image

With the next picture, any idea if the highlighted area contains a wound from a fight or other conflict?
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Elephant
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:36 pm 
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About the floppy ear: I stand to be corrected but apparently it is caused by a full body fungal or viral infection that an animal can get when they are younger and often results in floppy ears, this can be found in dogs and cats as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Elephant
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:03 pm 
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Lovely pics Ranred. I love watching elephants in the water and these pics really capture the moment.

It seems that Floppy Ear is caused when elephants get their heads wedged in a tight place and the withdrawal causes the cartilage of the ear to break, but not the skin. (Biology, Medicine, and Surgery of Elephants By Murray E. Fowler and Susan K. Mikota). I don't know about the virus or fungal disorder and cant find anything about it in elephants - that's not to say that it may not be so.


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 Post subject: Re: Elephant
Unread postPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:41 am 
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This elephant was drinking water at Mlondozidam close to Lower-Sabie. The dam was empty and the elephant had to walk on the rocks to get to the water.

Image

Did You Know? :hmz:
The biggest elephant was recorded in Angola in 1974. The shoulder height was 3.96 meter heigh and the circumference of his front leg was 1.8 meter.

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Last edited by Leeukos on Sun May 20, 2012 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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