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...
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay