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Big Tuskers

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

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Unread postby Nannie » Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:53 pm

Half-way up the S28,at first he and another bull where standing to one side and a heard of some 20 to the other side,then slowly they all came and milled around him it was great to see how gentle he was with the small one's and trust us he is very frisky.

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Unread postby Elsa » Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:46 am

What a fantastic pic Nannie, :D
Unusual to see Duke in a herd of other ellies as he is normally alone or with one askari.
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Tuskers: project to document current big boys

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:49 am

I have read about a project where public sightings will be used to document/record the new KNP tuskers. I cannot find a specific thread/forum or gallery dealing with just that issue. Has this been initiated? If so, how can one contribute information and/or use such a database to learn more of an elephant.

I was in KNP over the recent long weekend (22 - 26 Sep) and found an ellie with only one huge tusk on the left side. This was on a stream bank near (north of) Nwanetsi. I got some good shots of him together with a single askari. In spite of the fact that he has only the one tusk intact, he is an impressive bull. He ate constantly and moved briskly. I would love to know more about him.


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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:48 pm

Hi Johan,

This is Mr-One-Tusk-Bull-Elephant-Without-A-Name. I also got some good pictures of him on the S100 close to Nsasane waterhole during January this year when he blocked the road. I’ve emailed the photos to Dr Ian Whyte to hear if he is familiar with this elephant. His reply was that it is a well known elephant but he does not have a name most probably due to the fact that he only has one tusk. Dr Whyte said that if he had both tusks this elephant would’ve surely been one of the most well known big tuskers in Kruger.

You can compare the ellie you saw against the photos of the one we saw by going to Day 7 our trip report

OH yes and as to the link for the Emerging Tusker Project click here

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Good name for our ellie...

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:40 pm

This is Mr-One-Tusk-Bull-Elephant-Without-A-Name.

"Motbewan" (short for Mr-...) will do nicely. The name might even stick. Seems a pity that having lost a tusk such a magnificent animal looses stature - the genes that course through this colossus wasn't altered by the misadventure that led to this unfortunate state of affairs.

Was he known before the loss? Is it known when and how he lost the ivory on the right side?

Great to see other fellows frequenting the KNP with birds as prime target. The "Motbewan"s of the world becomes one heck of a bonus! You had a much better sighting of "Motbewan" than I did. I am by now means qualified to ID ellies, but it does look a lot like this is the same gentleman!

Thanks for the references to the Elephant Hall. What I would really like to see is an effective database where all the info submitted by the public is systematically captured and browseable. Such a facility must exist! How to get access to that info - that would be a BOON!

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Re: Good name for our ellie...

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:26 am

I have seen Motbewan too. :lol: I like the name!

I agree, its absolute bull that the ele does not have a name due to only having one tusk. Tshokwane broke off both tusks and still was known as Tshokwane. I really think that this beautifull animal deserves a name with a tusk like that, btw in the hunting days the biggest tusk was recorded for Rowland Ward purposes anyways.
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Unread postby Snoobab » Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:14 am

Very cleaver name Johan. I think we should stick with it. Maybe it can be a side order for Mission Duke, but then again it hangs around the S100 :wink:

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Unread postby Impisi08 » Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:45 pm

A few years ago this elephant was standing next to the road near Shingwedzi. I have been told it's the elephant called Mashagadzi.


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Unread postby Peter Betts » Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:05 pm

Hi Skangeni,

Thats a very interesting point. I was one of the lucky ones who saw this elephant in his home on the far western boundary where the Shingwedzi comes into Kruger. i only noticed the hole after he was found dead at a waterhole when I bought the Paul Bosman print of him. He lived to a ripe old age and seemed to manage okay with his breathing. He died not long after he had a collar fitted which was policy then to collar the Magnificent 7 to track them as they were really targeted by ivory poachers in the heyday of poaching. I think Dzombo succumbed to AK 47's and Shawu (Groot HaakTand) as well. I cant recall Joao or Kambaku having a collar (I must have a look at these old slides of mine again). Many believe that Mafunyane died through the strain of the trauma of having this collar fitted. He fell awkwardly after darting and with his extra long tusks he was unable to get up and they had to use a front end loader to help him. Many believed he had the heaviest tusks as they went right to the ground without really tapering but they only came out at about 140lbs a side as he was shorter than they realised so his tusks looked more impressive. Another theory that he died prematurely is my theory based on the fact that in the last 10 years of an elephant bulls life he literally almost doubles the weight of ivory he carries without any noticable increase in outward size and length. This is partially caused by the shrinkage of the tusk nerve in the last years of the bulls life and the shrinkage of the nerve cavity which in turn is filled by thick heavy ivory. A very old bull has massive tusk bases of almost solid ivory and Mafunyane had large nerve cavities with rather thin ivory at the bases. I bet if he was not required to wear a collar and lived for another 8-10 years he would have topped 180 pounds to put him well within the top 10 elephants ever recorded. The world record is 226 lbs taken from an elephant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in the 1890's. It will be interesting to see how this Duke fellow pans out if he lives for another 10 years. I reckon he carries about 130 plus lbs per side at the moment but could go another 35lbs without any increase in length. I'm facinated by these big tuskers.
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Tribute to Masbambela

Unread postby LaeveldLeeu » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:48 am

Article in Lowvelder with photo of Masbambela who died. This is very sad as few people got the change to see this big tusker. :cry: :cry:
Please share your pics with the world.

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Re: Tribute to Masbambela

Unread postby Nico » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:44 pm

Hi Leaveldleeu, that's sad news. I don,t know him I think. Do you know in what area of KNP he was living? We have some pics of big Tuskers that we don't know the names of. :wink:
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Unread postby MarkWildDog » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:44 pm

Very sad news LaeveldLeeu.. :cry:

Here is some info on Masbambela, as you can see he is not classified as deceased on the list & he roamed in the Shingwedzi/ Punda Maria area.

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Unread postby DuQues » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:22 pm

Masbambela was on 50-50 Sunday, July 02, 2006

The name Masbambela? That means “hy wat sy man kan staan”. Called after Ben Pretorius who worked as a ranger in Kruger for 35 years.
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Unread postby Jose » Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:44 pm

DDW wrote:Masbambela really was extremely relaxed on this occasion, considering that he rarely ventures close to tourist roads: we were parked only metres away from him for more than half-an-hour without him showing any agitation at all. He is HUGE!!!!

Very sad news: Masbambela is dead.
I read about it week before last in the Kruger Park Times (paper version). The online article can be found here.

Kruger Park Times wrote:Big Tusker Dies

A giant has fallen. The mighty elephant known as Masbambela has died in the Mponda block of the Woodlands section of the Kruger National Park (KNP). Field rangers found his carcass during a routine foot patrol on November 7, 2006, before even vultures had settled on the body.

According to section ranger David Manganye, Masbambela had been seen shortly before his death, and there are no indications that his death was from anything other than natural causes. From the spoor around the carcass, it looks like Masbambela went down and struggled to get up for a time before finally dying.
Masbambela’s tusks have been retrieved and sent to the ivory storehouse at Skukuza. His left tusk was a whopping 2.64 metres long, while his right tusk was slightly shorter at just over two metres. Both tusks were almost half a metre in circumference.

His tusks were thought to be the second largest set sported by an elephant in Kruger, with Duke having the most impressive ivory of all the elephants currently living in Kruger. Masbambela was not well known to tourists, as he spent most of his time west of Shingwedzi. Even Kruger’s elephant expert, Dr Ian Whyte, had only seen him a couple of times, usually from the air during the annual census.

However, David Manganye reports that earlier this year Masbambela started spending more time in the vicinity of his ranger post, and that between himself and the rangers they usually spotted Masbambela about once a week. Masbambela, which means ‘one who can stand his man’, was named after former section ranger Ben Pretorius who worked for Sanparks as a section ranger for more than 35 years.
For more than 20 of these 35 years, Ben worked in the Shingwedzi and Punda Maria sections where Masbambela also made his home. Ben Pretorius was well known by his staff for his physical strength and ability to work hard, resulting in his nickname of Masbambela.

He was involved in the planning and developing of the wilderness trails in the KNP, and almost single-handedly built the Napi Trails camp. He took early retirement in 2001 when the park was restructured, and passed away in 2002.

Click here for one of DDW's photos. They were also shown on 50/50 in July of this year.
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Unread postby Boulder » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:48 pm

A sad day and a great elephant...He died in a most beautiful area of the Park near the Woodlands Rangers house near Bateleur Camp. I only saw him once years ago along the Phugwane River a tributary of the Mpolongo river in the north of Woodlands Section. I didnt realise he was named after my good friend Ben Pretorius the famous Punda Ranger (who will forget his 2 Dalmations and Suni antelope at his house) now they are both gone long live their memory. I will try and find a slide somewhere in my many boxes and have it scanned and put on the forum. This brings back memories of when Mafunyanye died over 15 years ago in remote Shangoni section. That was also a loss but also an elephant never seen by tourists as he lived on the far western boundary most of the time.
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