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Big Tuskers

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks
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Baffers
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Unread postby Baffers » Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:36 pm

:cry: It's a big loss...
It would be great to know if SANPARKS will decide on a possible replacement or at least one they are watching as a replacement "big tusker"
At the end of it all you don't want to go into the grave peacefully and quietly in well preserved body... You want to go sort off skidding in sideways, full of bruises and scratches saying: "Man what a ride!!!"

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DuQues
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Unread postby DuQues » Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:55 pm

There is a competition on that Baffers! Have a look here.
Scientists in the Kruger National Park are studying these impressive animals to identify all of the Park's large tuskers and clearly define their home ranges. Information is compiled from annual aerial censuses, and specific collaring and tracking projects. This work helps to improve our understanding of these animals and ensures future visitors will be able to appreciate them.

You can help us by providing photographs and information about any tusker you see within Kruger National Park and neighbouring private reserves. Any elephant with remarkable tusks (more than 1m long) is of interest. Full face images showing both tusks and ears are most useful. Close-up shots of any characteristic features will also be appreciated. Detailed information about the location and date of the sighting is crucial.
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Unread postby DuQues » Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:26 pm

Remember this?
skangeni wrote:Does anybody know how Mafunyane created suction in his trunk? He had a 10 cm hole in his head which extended 40 cm into his skull and thus, into his nasal cavity. I understand that this did not have any adverse effects on him and that he was a fully functioning elephant (otherwise how could he have grown such great tusks). But how would he have sucked water into his trunk in order to drink?

Well, here is the answer:

Dr Ian Whyte wrote:I am not an elephant physiologist, so this answer may be rather simplistic - apologies to any elephant physiologists out there, but please correct me if this is wide of the mark!

I think that whoever posted this item on the forum has probably covered the answer in his questions. I believe that when they darted Mafunyane to fit the radio collar, he was found to be able to draw air in to his respiratory system through the hole in his head. This means the hole penetrated right through his skull, probably as far as his mouth. I never saw him drink, but I suspect that he must have been able to block the hole (probably with the back of his tongue) to enable the creation of enough suction to draw water up the trunk. Elephants exhibit some characteristics from their aquatic ancestry including the development of a trunk. Related to the development of a trunk are two additional adaptations. They have no pleural cavity, and the lungs are fused to the chest wall and diaphragm. This adaptation is thought to be a protection against the high negative intra-thoracic pressures attained when water has to be sucked up the trunk before drinking (Gaeth et al. 1999).
Water is therefore drawn up the trunk by suction created by "breathing in while the tip of the trunk is under the water". Mafunyane would have therefore have had to block the hole in the roof of his mouth to prevent the loss of this negative pressure, otherwise no water could have been sucked up the trunk.

I do not think that an elephant would be able to ingest enough water by lapping like a dog. The tongue of an elephant can not be extended far enough to allow it to be inserted into a water source. Also, the tongue is too smooth and would not "hold" water while lapping. A dog's tongue is quite coarse and can hold quite a lot of water, while an elephants is rather smooth like a human's. Try lapping water and you will see that it would be a lengthy process to ingest enough water to satisfy a good thirst!

Elephants suffering from "floppy trunk" have been seen to wade into water until deep enough to allow water to flow directly into the mouth, so maybe if Mafunyane was not able to suck up water in the normal way, he would have done this.

Reference:
Gaeth, A.P., Short, R.V. & Renfree, M.B. 1999. The developing renal, reproductive, and respritory systems of the African elephant suggest an aquatic ancestry. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences USA 96:
5555-5558.

I hope that this is useful and of some interest to our readers.

With best wishes

Ian

Dr Ian Whyte
Research Manager: Large Herbivores
Kruger National Park
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Re: Duke Died??

Unread postby mountainview » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:02 am

Tabs wrote:The Kruger National Park greatest Tusker of all time was an elephant called Mandleve. At his death (of old age), he was +/- 56 years old, and carried 142 Kg (± 315lbs.) of ivory


Peter Betts wrote:The world record is 226 lbs taken from an elephant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in the 1890's.


These world record tusks originally weighed in at 235 lbs (106.59kg) and 226 lbs (102.51kg). Totalling ± 209kg, they are an absolute perfect match and were indeed shot on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in the 1890's. Here is that pic from "The End of the Game" by Peter Beard.

Image
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Unread postby Boulder » Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:36 pm

Do you realise that that World record is about double the weight of any of the Magnificent 7 including Duke. !!!! He must have been a monster. Years ago I befriended an old man at Skukuza who did odd jobs like reloading the tranquilizer darts. In his prime he was a top Elephant hunter in Mocambique in the 1930's and he is famous for shooting "The Monster of Mirrameu" with tusks over 185 lbs per side!!! the 4th largest ever recorded. Those tusks were sent to Beira for shipment to London and were never seen again!! This old man was the famous Harry Manners who passed away a few years ago taking with him some unique memories of an Africa long gone
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Unread postby mountainview » Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:55 pm

Yeah Boulder

I personally cannot image a beast so large. It boggles the mind to think that such a perfect pair were once attached to a living breathing tusker. So sad.
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Big Tusker

Unread postby moggiedog » Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:25 am

Image

Does anyone know him? Seen near Shingwedzi in October 2006

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Unread postby Wild@Heart » Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:37 am

I'm going to say it's Mashagadzi. The right tusk looks like that of Mashagadzi. Massunguine's tusks are not that straight.

Nice sighting by the way.
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Unread postby matthew » Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:54 am

I have just bought a magnificent coffee table book by Dave Hadaway and Johan Marais called "Great Tuskers of Africa". It covers past, present and emerging tuskers of not only South Africa and Kruger but other parks as well.

Good ol Duke has a beautiful spread and a lovely print pic of him as well!

Once I have finished the book I shall place a post in the recommended reading section.
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Unread postby mountainview » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:31 am

I would be interested to know if there are/were any great tuskers from the Gona-Re-Zhou area. I have always wondered about the fact that there is such a huge tract of wilderness so close to Kruger and what impact it could have in terms of the transfrontier Park.
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Unread postby Boulder » Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:28 pm

Yes there was a Monster 150lb bull "collected" in 1956 by the District Commissioner. I have the book "Valley of the Ironwoods" and this elephant was known as "Kambaku" same name as one of the Kruger Magnificent 7. This Elephant used to live in Gona Re Zhou but he used to wander onto our friends' "ex" 60 000 hectre cattle ranch on the boundary. There was some good genetic stock ranging from Letaba through Northern Kruger SE Zimbabwe , Mocambique Central and Northern where there were more "100 pounders" than anywhere else in Africa
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zoom click

Unread postby EricP » Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:11 am

Here is a better enlargment, the other was ridiculously small when you clicked it open.

Image

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Unread postby mountainview » Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:27 am

Hi EricP

I think that he is definately a contender. In ten to fifteen years time he'll get there. Great shot too.
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Unread postby Loams » Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:06 am

Hi EricP

He is a beaut, with lovely tusks!! and a great shot too!!!

Unfortunately, if you look at his temples, you will see they are very dented which means that he is already an oldish ballie. I don't think he will live long enough to have tusks big enough to compete.

Did you know, tusks grow throughout an ellies life??
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chances

Unread postby EricP » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:01 am

Oh dear,never mind, he's my favourite elephant. For the competition then this one is looking good, he is young and full of potential? I love this shot I can felel him moving, we were just hit by a wall of rain.


Image


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