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Big Tuskers

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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Sun Jan 02, 2005 8:02 am Unread post
Just back from the park and temps of 40+ !
We saw a big tusker in the Shingwedzi river and the staff told us that its name is Mashakadzi (spelling?) but I forgot to ask what it means - can anyone help?
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big tusker

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Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:44 am Unread post
Unfortunately I can't help you with the meaning of name (Think the spelling could be Mashagadzi) which is a tremendous elephant; sometimes resting his tusks on the ground, but I also want to add that I was fortunate enough to have seen Maburule (meaning grootvoet/bigfoot, named after Johan Oelofse wearing no.14 size shoe) once just south of Mopani as he crossed the road in front of us.

Sadly he passed away in November last year. Tusks measured were approximately 2.6 and 2.8 meters.


Re: Big Tusker

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Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:35 pm Unread post
Mashagadzi is the correct spelling Wildtuinman. Also do not know the meaning of this word. The correct spelling of the other elephant "Big feet" is Mabarule.


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identifying elephants

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Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:11 am Unread post
Although it's not always easy to see, there are a couple of things you can go on identifying an elephant. The shape of tusks and ears. A telltale cut, tear or hole in the ear. If a piece of trunk is missing then that could also help. How older the elephant how deeper the ditches in his temples.

These together with the area of where the elephant roams should give you an indication of who it could be. Bull elephants tend to move around in specific home areas, but they could also move considerable distances.

For instance: If you want to look for Duke (current biggest tusker in the park) then a good place would be the Duke waterhole area northeast of Croc Bridge. But as I said before Duke has also been spotted almost as high as the Tshokwane picnic spot. Mabarule was frequently seen in the Mopani area.

Tshokwane roamed the same named picnic area and so forth.

Best is to take a pic of the elephant and ask one of the ranger or other staff of that camp in that area to help you identify it.

I think that Mashagadzi was named after the Mashagadzi waterhole just east of Shingwedzi where he is often spotted.



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Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:50 am Unread post
My favourite is still Mafuyane ("The Irritable One").

Although not the biggest in Stature his tusk were one of the straightest ones. If you view it today you'll see how they scraped on the floor when he was still alive.

He also had a hole of about 10cm in his head which he actually could breath through. Depending on who you talk, the hole was either caused by a fight with another elephant while others say it was a poachers bullet.

Fortunatly he did not die from it and only passed away much later due to natural causes. The hole however did make him extremely irritable and he was not one of the happier ellies.

Funny thing about the Big 7 ellies were that most of them died in the 1980's. And most of them were injured at some time in the life by poachers :x


Re: Letaba Museum

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Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:17 pm Unread post
wildtuinman wrote
I must say that I think the Letaba museum is most probably one of the best museums I have been to. Thank you SANP for such an amazing display of nature's true wonders.

Danie, I am mailing you a pic of an elephant I have seen in the Shingwedzi River about 5km east of Shingwedzi in Jul 2004. Could you please find out if it is a well-known tusker and his name if any?


I'll do so with pleasure. I'll send the image to our elephant expert here in KNP who knows the big tuskers and has lots of photographs of especially the big tuskers. I'll let you know as soon as I receive an answer from him.

Regards from South Africa's flagship National Park and paradise!


Big Tuskers

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Sat Jan 22, 2005 7:34 pm Unread post
Are there any potential great tuskers in the park that could match the size of the Magnificent 7. I know about Duke but are there any others?
There seems to not to be much talk about living giants of the Elephant world. Surely their genes must have been passed on? If not, will those be the last Big Tuskers to walk the paths of Kruger, or will latent genes produce big ones in future generations?



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Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:36 pm Unread post
I read something by Dr Ian White, the specialist scientist on large herbivores where he said there are 11 new tuskers in the Kruger.
Duke (not so new) - Lower Sabie/Crocodile Bridge
Mac - Lower Sabie/Crocodile Bridge
Tshilonde - Shingwedzi
Mabarule - Mopani
Hlamalala - Sirheni
The other 6 do not have names yet or ID photos, some camp rangers have named them but the names are not well known.
A project is being started to get tourists to photograph these big tuskers to help with identification.


big tuskers

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Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:14 am Unread post
Unfortunately Mabarule passed away last year.

The elephant in the pic has got nice tusks, but believe me there are boys in the park that will make this guy look like a primary school boy which he probably still is as he does not seem that old yet. Elephant's tusks grow at a increasing rate during the last couple of years of their lifetime.



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Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:25 am Unread post
Here's one I saw in Jun 2004 in the Shingwedzi river.

Image



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Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:21 pm Unread post
Hi Wildtuinman

I heard back from Dr White this morning. He said that the elephant in my photo was unknown to them and, had his broken tusk been whole, would definitely be a candidate as a big tusker. He also said that he appeared to be in good condition and probably had some way to grow. He said that the ele would be added to their database for future reference.
He didn't mention if this was the same ele you saw.

I'm chuffed to bits to have had a reply and will certainly be seeking out those big boys up Shingwedzi way in future! Good luck with getting your beastie identified.



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Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:28 am Unread post
What is the norm when naming the big tuskers?

Seeing that they did not know about him, do they name him or the people who took the photograph?


Letaba - The Elephant

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Tue Feb 08, 2005 7:59 am Unread post
Hi Kruger,

Is Letaba (the elephant) still alive? I read about him how he used to come into the camp and the ranger had to chase him out all the time (untill the electric fencing was put up).


Re: Letaba - The Elephant

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Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:30 pm Unread post
Here is Dr Ian Whyte's answer:

Hi all

I never knew this elephant and would not recognize him. As I understand, he was no tusker, so it could well be that he is still alive but draws no attention.

Best wishes

Ian


Re: Letaba - The Elephant

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Tue Feb 08, 2005 3:00 pm Unread post
More information from Louis Olivier, Regional Ranger: Northern Region, KNP:

I clearly remember the elephant and vaguely as to what had happened to it.

For clarity, I have just spoken with Ben Lambrecht [082 xxx-xxxx] who was the Ranger at Letaba at the time. Ben confirmed that Letaba was unfortunately poached during the sorry days [1980's] of high scale illegal hunting from out Mozambique. The timid bull was shot and killed alongside Engelhard Dam and the tusks removed. Ben even recalled how a visitor once rested his hand on the tusk of Letaba while it was feeding through the fence on some trees inside the rest camp.

An unhappy ending to well known elephant bull in our history.

Kind regards.

Louis Olivier
Regional Ranger: Northern Region
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