The stats will be interesting
Also interesting is KNP Spokesman's post here:
How old is Duke?
I understand that the only really accurate way to age an elephant is with his teeth.
An elephant has 6 sets of molars in its lifetime. These are replaced every couple of years until the last set is left. Most elephants on this last set of molars have only a few years left before they eventually die (quite literally of starvation as, without their teeth, they can't process food).
Scientists/researchers have documented the shape and size of these molar sets and, by looking at the teeth, we can tell within a few years, the age of an elephant.
At a quick glance, you can also get an "idea" by looking at the shape of an elephant's head. If it has deep depressions in the forehead region, that animal is probably fairly old.
As I have not yet looked inside Duke's mouth, I am not really sure but I would say he is a pretty old elephant and is probably about 50-odd years old.
Hope this helps ...
PS - Hopefully, one day, I'll see him too ...
Also here :
Duke is a very special animal whom I have only seen once. There are, however, some of my colleagues who have seen him more than once (notably some of the guides at Lower Sabie, the rangers at Croc Bridge and Tshokwane and, of course, our elephant scientist Dr Ian Whyte who has seen him a FEW times!).
He has also been spotted on the Lebombo Overland Eco-Trial (the four night, five day trip on our eastern boundary) so his range is fairly big.
The square notch on his left ear is small but distinctive, it is just a shade lower than his eye, on the edge of his hear "flap". You can't really see it on the photograph above but it is amazing how it stands out when you see this elephant "in elephant". [well, I can't really say "in person", can I?]
Less obvious is a strange V-shape (on its side) fold on the left ear but, as Wildtuinman says, when you see him there is no doubt in your mind as the tips of his tusks literally scrape the ground. In fact, rangers tell me that he often "sleeps" by leaning on these VERY LONG tusks.
He normally has 5/6 "Askari" bulls with him but over December 2006 he was spotted with a family group, including calves. Although it might not be (elephants have very loose associations between bulls and cows), there is a good chance that they are his siblings, so there is a bit of go in the old boy yet!
Incidentally, we think he is in the 55-60 year time span, which means that he doesn't have that much longer to go.