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Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

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Ralph vV
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Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Ralph vV » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:23 pm

Last night during a massive storm over the Mopani region, an elephant was killed by lightning at the Tihongonyeni Waterhole. Sanparks personnel removed the head and tusks this afternoon, leaving a rather grim sight.... Already vultures are circling and landing, but no predators as yet. It is very sad to see such a magnificent giant killed in such a way, but that's Nature for you.... Pics and updates to follow, as we are based in the area over the next few days.
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Grantmissy » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:58 pm

Thank you Ralph vV for sharing this rather grim information, but that is nature I guess.
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby DinkyBird » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:52 pm

RvV - good to see you here :dance: :dance:

Sad to hear about the ellie; looking forward to reading more about it.
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Ralph vV » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:14 pm

Thanx Hilda! Very grim, macabre sighting indeed.... You don't want to watch, but cannot help to be fascinated by the feast the vultures are having! Very interesting interaction amongst the various species.
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby hilda » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:16 am

I can just imagine a heartbreaking sight like that Ralph! But I am sure the interaction between the Vultures must be a fascinating sighting! I'm sure the Hyenas and Jackals will also join in? :hmz:

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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Grantmissy » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:19 am

I am just wondering for interest sake whether many animals are killed by lightening in the Kruger National Park? If I am correct in 1997 six elephants were killed by lightning while they huddled together seeking shelter from a violent storm in the vicinity of Lower-Sabie Camp. I personally do not know or has heard of any other such occurrences as I think they are probably rare?

Thanks again Ralph vV for telling us about this sad incident that took the life of the Elephant. I am sure it must be very grim and macabre to see.
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Ralph vV » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:26 am

Been at the sighting since 04h45 this morning.... Gentle, consistent rain soaked the earth through the night. A few black-backed jackal were picking over some scraps, before being chased off by the arrival of the Vultures.... No Hyaena, Lion or predator sighting yet. Stomach cavity severely bloated, but not punctured yet.... Smell is becoming worse, as the sun starts baking. Activity around carcass diminishing, with only about 30 birds feeding... Had a great meet/ chat with Scipio, Petra and LO! Great seeing them again....
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Philip1 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:11 am

:) Ralph vV, thank you for keeping us posted. :thumbs_up:

:( Not a nice way to be killed, but better than poaching. (A Natural kill) :)
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Joep Stevens » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:51 am

Yes, indeed a sad loss. We were at Letaba at the time and could see this huge storm northwards from midday on 1 January. A few days earlier we were at Mopani and visited Tihongonyeni a few times and conditions were just optimal for great game viewing there. Unbelievable traffic of animals all day long and we called it the Serengeti of Kruger. With the good rains, this will obviously change now.

Thank you for sharing!

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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby hilda » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:05 pm

Bundi wrote:Maybe one of the rangers can confirm this for me, but I once heard that lion would not eat from a carcass that was killed by lightning.

That is very interesting! I would like to hear more about it!Is there anybody who can confirm this, and maybe tell us why Lions wouldn't eat from a carcass killed by lightning? :thumbs_up:

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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Ralph vV » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:46 pm

Joep, thanx for sharing... Indeed a mini Serengeti!
Bundi, very interesting indeed.... We spend all day there, with only Marabou stork joining in the feast, along with a few skittish jackal. No sign of any lions/ hyena, so perhaps some truth to that story.... Will hopefully be able to confirm by tomorrow night. I am also chatting to the rangers in the morning, so could perhaps share some more info.
Must tell you though, that the stench is becoming hectic... Downwind from the carcass- unbearable, and bound to get worse!
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby pops » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:42 pm

Carnivores do not usually eat "cooked" meat. This my SO learned from a ranger in Pilanesburg when they happened to come across the carcass of a giraffe which had been killed by lightning a year earlier.

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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Ralph vV » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:01 am

@ Pops: Rodger from Tsendze also mentioned this.... Apparently no lion will touch an animal killed like this, although Hyena will sometimes scavenge from the carcass...
Hi Joep! Will e-mail you pics soonest. Unfortunately signal at Tsendze not to good, but we will visit Mopani today to download and post a few photos.
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Ralph vV » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:42 am

Hi guys! Just a quick update.... It's been raining throughout the night, area getting much needed relief. This morning the carcass decay quite obvious. Small tear in stomach, lots of fluid loss with smell overwhelming... No large predators or scavengers, apart from vultures, jackal and marabous.
Spoke to Section Ranger Joe Nkuna, what an interesting guy! Extremely knowledgable, friendly and helpfull... He confirmed that decay/ rot usually takes 5-7 days for a carcass this size. He expects lots of Hyena activity from tonight, so if you are in the area, perhaps a night drive would be an option? He also confirmed removal of tusks for storage in Skukuza....
Spoke at length about their anti-poaching campaign, and the major onslaught this year on Kruger's Rhino. He believes in being pro-active, and covers a HUGE area with limited manpower on a daily basis. The removal of snares forms a large part of their daily patrols...

The fight against poaching is truly a major challenge, under sometimes very difficult/ dangerous conditions. These guys need all OUR support to win this war! More importantly, our Government's full support, dedication and commitment. Harsh and severe punishment if caught, and unforgiving ACTION is needed!
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Re: Elephant killed by lightning- Tihongonyeni

Unread postby Ralph vV » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:00 am

Hi MM! Great to ”see” you again....
Despite the frenetic vulture activity, we manage to see Tsesebe, Lichtenstein's and Roan around Tihongonyeni... Also a huge herd of buffaloe! Quite spectacular...
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