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All-in-One

Welcome...

The KNP Emerging Tuskers project is part of a research project to identify the new crop of elephants with large tusks and encourages visitors to the KNP to take photographs or video footage of any elephant with large tusks so that this record can be used for research purposes.

The museum covers elephant evolution, biology, behaviour, ecology and research. It also showcases the ivory of eight of Kruger's greatest tuskers (including six of the Magnificent Seven). This site introduces you to these, and some of Kruger's other big tuskers. It also has fun and games for kids and information for schools and educators. Check out our recommended reading for some excellent elephant publications, or our links page to access other useful sources of information on elephants.

We hope to see you at Letaba's elephant hall soon!

Location:

Letaba Elephant Hall
Letaba Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
South Africa

Letaba Rest Camp is located in the north of Kruger National Park, 50 km from the nearest entry gate to the park (Phalaborwa).

Opening hours: Letaba Elephant Hall is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year at the following times:

Mondays – Saturdays: 08:00 to 20:00
Sundays: 08:00 to 18:00

Entry fee: Entrance to Letaba Elephant Hall is free.

Contact Details

Letaba Elephant Hall
People & Conservation Department
Letaba Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
Private Bag X402
Skukuza 1350
South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)13 735 6664
Fax: +27 (0)13 735 6662

Email us


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Big Tuskers

Ever since the Magnificent Seven were first named in the 1970's, Kruger's elephants with large tusks have been a source of awe and inspiration around the world. While many of Africa's elephant populations have seen the genes of their largest tuskers depleted by ivory hunting and poaching, Kruger's legends live on.

Find out more about Kruger's Magnificent Seven, other past tuskers and today's emerging tuskers by clicking on the links below.

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Emerging tuskers - the legend continues...

The legend of the Magnificent Seven lives on in Kruger National Park through a number of animals carrying impressive ivory.

Scientists are studying these impressive animals and you can help by providing information on any tusker you see in the park. See our Emerging Tuskers Project for more details.

When a new tusker is identified we currently name it after a Ranger or other member of staff who has given many years of service to the Kruger National Park. It is traditional for rangers to be given an ethnic title by their colleagues and staff, and it is these 'nicknames' that are used for the tuskers.

The current emerging tuskers:

Bidzane

Photo by Arks Smith

Photo by Arks Smith

Origin of Name: Named in memory of Gus Adendorff who served as a ranger in the Kruger National Park for 27 years. (‘Bidzane’ is Swahili and refers to the zebra skin band around the hat that Gus always wore)
Range: North of Letaba
Special Features: Large v-shaped tear/notch in the middle of the left ear lobe, notable hole approximately the size of R2 coin about 10cm below the tear. Bidzane’s ivory is not exceptionally substantial at this time, but has the potential to develop. His ivory is fairly symmetrical with the left tusk curving more then the right.
General: The existence of this bull was initially questionable as he bears a remarkable similarity to Timaka, a known bull who at a time frequented the same area. A detailed submission received in April 2006, by Ms Arks Smith, showed the identification characteristics of this bull and served to clearly highlight the very subtle difference between the two bulls and allowing his existence to be confirmed. He was named in 2007 during the judging of the 2006 Emerging Tuskers competition and was the 1st prize winner for Ms Smith in this competition. Subsequent to his naming, previous submissions thought to be Timaka were able to be distinguished through the markings as Bidzane and showed that the bull had been noted as early as 2005. Bidzane is a young bull, but definitely has the potential to become one of the substantial tuskers.

  • More information: on Gus 'Bidzane' Adendorff, letter and extract from the Elephant Hall.

Machachule

Photo by David Johnson

Photo by David Johnson

Origin of Name: Machachule has been named in memory of Corporal Joe Managanyi who served 33 years service for the Kruger National Park. (Machachule meaning ‘the lead dancer’ this name was given this name by his staff as he was known as a very strict worker who did not waste time and who had to do things immediately, leading by example)
Range: Shingwedzi
Special Features: Large uneven v-shaped tear in the right ear towards the middle of the lobe, top part of the v-shape more elongated then the bottom. Left ear has a medium sized square shaped notch towards the middle of the lobe, small flap of skin directly below this.
General: Machachule, was discovered initially by Dr Ian Whyte (SANParks) in the Shingwedzi area, during the aerial census in 2004. This bull was noted as to be watched but seemed to have kept a low profile with only a few known recording of him, in 2006 by Grant Knight recorded him again during the aerial census, and a guest Jose van der Hoorn noted him in November 2005 and May 2006. This was until recently when numerous sightings were recorded in 2007, and it would seem he has now become a regular feature for guests in the Shingwedzi area. This bull was named in 2008 during the judging of the 2007 Emerging Tuskers Competition year.

Joe ‘Machachule’ Manganye: (1935 – 2005)
Joe was a long serving member of the SANParks family. Joe retired as a Field Ranger Corporal from the Mahlangene Section of the Kruger National Park in 2002, after 33 years service. He was well known a respected by all those who worked with him, staff members who remember him well, knew him for his excellent work ethic. He sadly passed away on the 14 November 2005.

Madolo

Photo by Matthew Durrel

Photo by Matthew Durrel

Origin of Name: Named in honor of Johan Kloppers who served 36 years in conservation in the Kruger National Park (Madolo meaning ‘Knee’s’, was given to Johan due to his penchant for walking. According to staff who knew him well he inherited this name due to his unique stride when walking)
Range: Skukuza/Kruger Gate towards Pretoriuskop
Special Features: Symmetrical ivory with left tusk slightly longer then the right. Mandolo had relatively clean ears however there are small v-shaped notches in the left ear, towards the centre and lower sections of the ear lobe, a small hole below the lower notch in the left ear is also visible.
General: This bull has been seen on two occasions by the same person Mr Matthew Durell who on both occasions provided a detailed photographic series providing a comprehensive data base of this bull. This bull was named in 2008 during the judging of the 2007 Emerging Tuskers Competition and was awarded 3rd prize in the same competition.

Masasana

Photo by Dr Ian Whyte

Photo by Dr Ian Whyte

Origin of Name: ‘Masasana’ a Tsonga word meaning ‘One can always make a plan’ was named in recognition of Johan Sithole who served the Kruger National Park in both the Conservation and Scientific Services departments in a career that spanned 35 years before his retirement on the 4th March 2008.
Range: This bull predominates in the Letaba area but has been seen at Mopani and between the Malopenyana and Middlevlei waterhole.
Special Features: This tusker has easily identifiable features that are visible from all angles. The right tusk is thicker and straighter than the left tusk and previously showed a very prominent 'grass' notch in the tip of the tusk. The left tusk also has a slight notch but considerably less prominent. The left ear has a w-shaped notch that has a piece skin hanging in the middle forming the 'w' shape towards the middle of the ear. The right ear does not have any notable features and is fairly clean edged. An oval tennis ball sized growth is visible on his left front leg close to the top as well as some thickening on his trunk. Recent images of this bull in 2014 showed that he has broken the tips of both his tusks at the grass notches giving a chiseled appearance to the end of his tusks. Fortunately very little length has been lost and his continues to develop as an impressive emerging tusker.
General: Masasana was first recorded in 2006 outside the Letaba Rest Camp and was considered of sufficient interest to monitor. Sightings in November 2009 by Dr Ian Whyte (see Masthulele) between the Malopenyana and Middlevlei waterholes and a further sighting in May 2010 at Letaba with him and well known tusker Mashangaan, confirmed his status as an emerging tusker. He was named in 2011. This tusker has since grown and has continued to be regularly seen between Mopani and Letaba.

Masthulele (Tihongonyene)

Photo by Rob van Wijngaard

Photo by Dr Ian Whyte

Origin of Name: “Masthulele, meaning ‘the quiet one’ has the honor of sharing his name with Dr Ian Whyte, who was given this name by the staff he worked with.
Range: Mooiplaas/Giriyondo, this bull has however been recorded as far south as Letaba and more recently in Cleveland Private Nature Reserve to the south of Phalaborwa.
Special Features: Small v-shaped notch in the left ear towards the centre of the lobe. Masthulele has a thickened skin growth on the trunk, towards the narrowing section of the trunk. His tusks are fairly symmetrical with the left tusk curving slightly higher then the right.
General: This bulls name is very appropriate he lives up to the ‘quiet one’ reputation by being seldom seen, and had only been photographed twice at the time of naming. The first two series of photographs of this bull were both taken from the helicopter during the elephant censuses of 2003 and 2004. Both series were taken in the Tihongonyene Windmill area.
This elephant is named after the ethnic name of Dr Ian Whyte after motivation by Dr Johan Marais, Ms Kirsty Redman and Regional Ranger Louis Olivier, in July 2005.

Mavalanga

Photo by Anja Stolk

Photo by Robert Bryden

Origin of Name: Named in memory of Piet Otto who served firstly as a helicopter pilot and later as Head of Flight and Game Capture operations in the Kruger National Park 25 years. (Mavalanga is shangaan meaning ‘one who has very good eyesight’, this refers to Piet’s exception ability to spot game on census long before anyone else for this he was dubbed “Mr Eye’s” by those who worked with him).
Range: This bull has a very large home range and has been recorded in Pafuri, around Babalala and as far South as Bangu in the Olifants Trail area.
Special Features: This bull has very substantial curved ivory. He has a notable thickening on his trunk that has a “doughnut” appearance with a definite depression in the middle. Hi right ear has a small “R2.00” sized hole towards the upper edge of the lobe as well as a small v-shaped notch with the bottom part of the notch extending past the end of the lobe line. The left ear has a prominent wide u-shaped notch below the middle area of the lobe as well as a similar shaped notch slightly above the middle of the lobe the is bisected by a small extension of skin (this is not usually visible unless the ears are open) A small “R2.00” at the tip of the ear lobe is also visible from a frontal or left side angle.
General: This elephant was first recorded by Anja Stolk in September 2008 as part of the emerging tuskers competition. Due to immense distances between locations of other submission in 2008 by Johan Marais (author Great Tuskers of Southern Africa) and in 2009 by Robert Bryden (Co-odinator Guides, Nxanatseni Region) these were originally thought to be of ‘new bulls’. Upon investigation and the recording of the identification features for Mavalanga it is now clear these are of the same bull and have served to highlight the immensely large roaming range of this magnificent tusker.
Piet ‘Mavalanga” Otto: Piet Otto started working for SANParks as a pilot based in Skukuza on the 1 May 1977. In August 1977 he married Karin and they had two daughters, Inge and Lize.

Mbazo

Photo by Nicole Cordes

Photo by Nicole Cordes

Origin of Name: Named for Lynn van Rooyen who served in conservation for South African National Park for 39 years. (Mbazo meaning ‘axe’ refers to Lynn’s early years as a ranger where he was known to lead field patrols armed only with an axe)
Range: This bull has been in the Orpen Gate area, and is also known to frequent the area around Satara and Nwanetsi and slightly north of there towards Balule.
Special Features: This bull has very unusually shaped ivory that makes him easily recognizable, with right tusk fairly straight and the left considerably curved. Two areas of thickening on the truck between the tusks are visible in all footage of this bull. No ear notches are easily visible, although a U-shaped notch exists at the extreme bottom of the right lobe alongside the neck area.
General: This bull was first recorded in December 2008 by Nicole Cordes as part of the emerging tuskers competition in 2009, and was noted as unusual. Several submissions followed subsequent to this that clearly identifies this bulls’ stomping grounds. He was recently named confirming his ‘status’ amongst the ‘new’ era.

Mculu

Photo by Richard Sowry

Photo by Richard Sowry

Origin of Name: Named in honor of Ben Lamprecht who served in conservation in the South African National Park for 26 years. (Mculu is a shangaan word referring to the manner in which Ben was known to walk with his shoulders pulled up high).
Range: This bull seems to have a relatively small home range at present and is seen frequently in the immediately vicinity of the Letaba Restcamp and has also been recorded on the tar road towards Phalaborwa Gate.
Special Features: This bull has notable upright curved tusks. A prominent growth/thickening on his trunk can be observed. His ears also have very distinguishing characteristic’s, his left ear has a ragged “w” shaped notches in the middle of the lobe, while the right ear has a significant u-shaped notch in the upper lobe, as well as a small “R2.00” sized hole towards the middle to lower area of the lobe.
General: This bull was first spotted in early in 2009 by Kirsty Redman in the Letaba area, but a lack of good quality photo’s and a similarity in ear notches to known tuskers failed to determine if this was a ‘new tusker’ or one of the known bulls. A series of good photo’s taken by Richard Sowry in August 2009 allowed this bull to clearly be identified as a ‘new tusker’ as well as previously unidentified submission to be clearly identified as the know known “Mculu”.

Mculu is a relatively young bull and his home range is fairly small when compared with other tuskers, however now that his characteristic’s have been identified it will become easier to record him from submissions and to determine his home range.

Ngunyupezi

Photo by AJ de Wet

Photo by Joep Stevens

Origin of Name: Named in memory of Sergeant James Maluleke who served a combined 33 years in service to the Kruger National Park. (Ngunyupezi meaning ‘one who likes to dance with woman but who will always go home at the end of the night’)
Range: Red Rocks area, between Bateleur and Shingwedzi, he has also been sighted at Babalala and more recently as far north as Pafuri.
Special Features: Left tusk is considerably longer than the right. Uniquely the left tusk has grown with the curve backwards towards the body appearing twisted and making this a very unusual elephant. Sadly, a recent sighting has shown the top of his right tusk has been broken., as this tusk was not as long as the left. Not much length has been lost with the recent break, but it would also appear the tusk is 'peeling' in some area, perhaps indicating weaker ivory. There are two distinct notches on the left ear, one shallow wide u-shaped notch close to the tip of the lobe and further up a medium square shaped notch with a loose piece of skin can be seen. Prior to 2013 this was a definite hole, but a recent sighting by Don Yunnie in 2014 show that this has been ripped open to create a square notch.
General: This bull is very shy and is seldom seen there were only two submissions of this unique elephant at the time of naming. He was first photographed by a previous employee of DataCentrix Mr Desmond Swart on the 12 March 2007. And then later by Mr AJ de Wet as part of the Emerging Tuskers competition on the 30 April 2007. Ngunyupezi was named in 2008 during the judging of the Emerging Tuskers Competition and was the 2nd prize winner in the same competition. Recently however sightings of this bull have increased and he seems to becoming a regular feature in the Shingwedzi area.

Ngonyama

Photo by CJ van Rensburg

Photo by Christiaan Janse van Rensburg

Origin of Name: Named for Uys de Villiers (Tol) Pienaar who served in conservation for South African National Park for 36 years. (Ngonyama is the Tsonga word for ‘Lion’. This nickname derives itself from an incident on the 21st July 1956 when Tol was bitten by a lioness along the Timbavati spruit (where present day Roodewal camp is). Tol was also known for his green eyes that could flash like a lion’s when angry.
Range: This bull has an average sized home range. He is known in the area between Phalaborwa and Mopani (Mayumbeni and Xilawuri Koppies) and stretches to Letaba Rest Camp.
Special Features: This elephant has very widely splayed ivory, with the right tusk appearing to be slightly longer then the left due to the curve of the left tusk but from side profile they would  appear even in length. There is a conspicuous lump (or lumps) on his left backside as well as a tiny hole at the base of the left ear lobe. Some thickening on the upper truck can also be observed.
General: This elephant was first sighted by Kobie Naude on the 5th October 2008 on the tar road towards Mopani from Phalaborwa. At the time with only one submission it was decided not to name him, he was noted as an impressive bull and monitored to see if he appeared again. This was the last heard of him until December 2009 where a sighting from Christiaan Janse van Rensburg, found him in the Letaba region of the Kruger National Park. Two subsequent sightings by GVI volunteer Jasmine Brown in February and March 2010 again in the immediate vicinity of Letaba help cement his status as a large tusker and the decision was made to name him. He appears docile and does not seem to mind the presence of guests providing good sightings.

Ntombazana

Photo by Anja Stolk

Photo by Anja Stolk

Origin of Name: Named in memory of Bruce Robert Bryden who served in conservation with South African National Park for 29 years. (Ntombazana is the shangaan word meaning ‘young lady’ this name was affectionately bestowed on him by his staff referring to his love of the ladies when he first arrived in the Kruger National Park).
Range: This bull has been recorded predominately in the Letaba and Olifants area, around the junction of the H1-5 and the S46.
Special Features: The bull has substantial and thick ivory. Ear notches are particularly prominent with notably ‘punch hole’ type notch in his left ear with a ‘R2.00’ sized hole slightly above this. His right ear has a ‘w’ shaped notch towards the upper lobe (this is a u-shaped notch with a loose skin piece dividing the area), several other ragged notches are also evident in the right lower ear lobe.
General: This bull was first recorded in 2008 by Anja Stolk as part of the emerging tuskers competition in 2009 and was recently named. Little is known about this bull as he seems to shy away from camera’s it is hoped over time footage will improve given his recent confirmed ‘status’ amongst the ‘new’ era.

Nwashinangana

Photo by Barry Swart

Photo by Barry Swart

Origin of Name: Named in honor of Ted Whitfield, who served as a Section Ranger in the Kruger National Park for 24 years. (Nwashinangana meaning ‘somebody that blows the animal horn’, due to his habit of whistling softly while he was working)
Range: Imbali (Mluwati) Concession, Kingfisherspruit, Tshokwane and Lower Sabie
Special Features: Very substantial thick ivory widely splayed. This bull has 2 small v-shaped notches in his right ear, towards the centre and bottom of the lobe. His left tusk is longer and less curved then the right tusk. There is a tennis ball sized growth on the left flank about 50cm from the tail of the bull. Two small notches spaced approximately 10cm apart at the top of the left ear lobe
General: This bull has been seen on numerous occasions over the last year (2007/8) and seems to be becoming on the popular tuskers to photograph. From these submissions it has been noted that this bull has a very large home range stretching from Orpen Gate to Lower Sabie Restcamp. He was recorded in 2006 and has grown substantial since then attracting far more attention in recent years. He was named in 2008 during the judging for the 2007 Emerging Tuskers competition and received 1st prize in the same competition.

Thandamamba

Photo by Jenni Lane

Photo by Jenni Lane

Origin of Name: Named for Sgt Aaron Nkuna who served as a Field Ranger in the Kruger National Park 37 years. (Thandamamba is the zulu work for “the one who is fond of the black mamba snake / the black mamba snake lover”, this unusual name came about during a conversation with Brian Harris (ex-section ranger Stolznek), where Aaron indicated the one thing he loved most about the KNP was the snakes particularly the black mamba).
Range: This bull predominates in the very Southern area of the Kruger National Park, and has been sighted in the Malelane/Stolznek areas of the South, around the Gardenia Hide and the Mlambane confluence and is a regular visitor to the Jock Concession.
Special Features: This bull has very substantial ivory in weight and given he is a younger bull it is hoped he will continue to develop further. His ivory is fairly splayed with the left tusk lightly straighter and longer then the right. His right ear has several distinguishing ear notches, the most notable being a v-shaped tear in the middle of the outer lobe and a u-shaped notch at the based of the lobe close to the neckline.
General: This bull has been a regular sighting from the aerial census since 2007 and has been recorded by Stolznek ranger Rob Thompson. However it wasn’t until a sighting in January 2008 by Jenni Lane submitted as part of the emerging tusker’s competition that this bulls distinguishing features could be identified and therefore allow his ‘status’ as a new tusker to be confirmed.

Timaka

Photo by Dr Ian Whyte

Photo by Dr Ian Whyte

Origin of Name: Timaka was named in memory of Lance Corporal Wilson Ndlovu who was sadly killed by an elephant in the line of duty as a Field Ranger at the Stolznek section.
Range: Dzombo windmills south of Shingwedzi
Special Features: Notable v shaped notch with inverted v-shaped section of ear on the left ear lobe, the result of a tear. A small hole in the middle of the inverted v-shaped section can be seen towards the upper middle section of the shape.
General: This elephant was only identified from photographs taken during the 2004 elephant census. He was seen in the area around the Dzombo windmills south of Shingwedzi. He appears to be a young bull and has potential as a future big tusker.

Tsotsi

Photo by Sarah Webb

Photo by Sarah Webb

Origin of Name: Named in memory of Ampie ‘Tsotsi’ Espag, who spent many years in the service of the Kruger National Park as both a ranger and hospitality manager. (Tsotsi, meaning sneaky, trouble maker, skelm)
Range: Letaba Restcamp
Special Features: Tsosti has very symmetrical substantial weighted ivory, with the left tusk slightly more curved upwards then the right. There is a notable u-shaped notch in the right ear lobe towards the top, with a square notch approximately 15cm below this. 2 small holes approximately 5cm apart on the right ear lobe slightly below the centre part of the ear lobe, not always visible.
General: Tsotsi is a well know inhabitant of the Letaba area, who has a penchant for destroying fences around the camp and staff villages, it was for this reason that the staff felt it appropriate for him to share the name Tsotsi with Ampie Espag for his cheeky habits. He was first recorded photographically in 2004 by Kirsty Redman. At this stage while his tusks had significant weight they had not developed in length, none the less as a young bull he had the potential to develop. In the subsequent years Tsotsi has hit a growth spurt and his tusk length has almost double since he was first recorded. As a result it is felt that Tsotsi has the potential to become one of the Kruger National Parks big tuskers. Tsotsi was named in 2007 during the judging for the 2006 Emerging Tuskers Competition year.

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The Magnificent Seven

Over thirty years ago seven impressive elephant bulls, all with tusks weighing more than 50 kg each, could be found in Kruger National Park.

The Chief Warden at the time, Dr U de V Pienaar, decided to publicise these elephants as a successful example of Kruger's conservation work. He named those bulls that had not already been identified and also coined the collective name, the Magnificent Seven, based on the 1960 Hollywood film.

The promotion was launched in 1980 with specially commissioned paintings by celebrated wildlife artist Paul Bosman and illustrated articles written by the park's Senior Research Officer, Dr Anthony Hall-Martin.

The public reaction was staggering and, when each of these great elephants died, it was decided to retrieve their tusks and skulls in order to display them. The Elephant Hall at Letaba Rest Camp now holds the tusks of Dzombo, Kambaku, Mafunyane, Ndlulamithi, Shawu and Shingwedzi.

The age of each of these elephants was estimated. Find out how to work out an elephant's age.

Learn more about tusks and ivory in general.

Scroll down to see and read about each of these great animals.

Dzombo (c.1935–1983)

DzomboDzombo's Tusks

Origin of Name: Named after the Dzombo stream that traverses the Mopani Flats between the Shingwedzi and Shawu valleys. (The word Dzombo is derived from the Tsonga word Dzombolo meaning ‘to wait for something that is slow in coming’)
Range: He lived in the area bounded by the Tsendze, Letaba and the Shingwedzi Rivers and was most frequently seen along the grassy vlei system of the Shawu valley.
Special Features: Dzombo’s tusks are the classic shape of the Kruger National Park Elephants, bowed and curved pointing forward and slightly upwards. They were also almost identically shaped in length, weight and thickness.
General: Dzombo was the only one of the “Magnificent Seven” to be killed by poachers and it was only by a stroke of luck that Dzombo’s two tusks were not taken. He died in a hail of bullets from an AK 47 fired by a poacher from Mozambique in October 1985. The miscreants were in the act of chopping out the tusks when they were disturbed by the approach of Ranger Ampie Espag and fled leaving their trophies behind. Dzombo met an untimely death at the age of 50 years.
(Dzombo’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

237cm (255cm)

237cm (237cm)

Mass (kg)

56.8kg (55,5kg)

56.8kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

50cm

51cm

João (date unknown)

João

Origin of Name: Named by Anthony-Hall Martin for Prester John, legendary priest-king of ancient Africa. (João being the Portuguese for ‘John’) João was also to be found near the waterhole of this name along the Shingwedzi River. This waterhole was named in 1961 by Dr Tol Pienaar (former Warden of KNP and CEO of SANParks) after a former mechanic from Shingwedzi who assisted Dr Pienaar with fish surveys along the Shingwedzi River.
Range: João was first seen near a windmill called João, in the Shingwedzi region, he was known to frequent the area south of the Shingwedzi River. There were times however that he moved as far south as Mahlangene and Shilowa (East Mopani).
Special Features: João was a very large bull, with a shoulder height of 340cm.
General: João was wounded by poachers in 1982, at this time he was immobilized to investigate the damage. Fortunately the wounds were not fatal, and after a dose of antibiotics and cleaning of the wounds he was revived. While immobilized he was fitted with a radio collar and measurements of his tusks taken, he tusks were an estimated combined 130kg which at the time would have made him the heaviest ivory carrier of the Magnificent Seven. In 1984 (approximate age, 45 years) João broke both tusks close to the lip line (20-30cm), presumably in a fight with another bull. Unfortunately the pieces were never found and as a result João is the only member of the Magnificent Seven who is not represented in the Letaba Elephant Hall.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

271cm

250cm

Mass (kg)

70kg

60kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

51cm (55cm)

51cm (55cm)

Kambaku (c.1930-1985)

KambakuKambaku's Tusks

Origin of Name: Kambaku is the Tsonga word for ‘Great Tusker’ or ‘Old Elephant Bull’.
Range: This bull moved over a huge tract of country stretching from Satara/Orpen and the Timbavati to Crocodile Bridge.
Special Features: Kambaku’s left ear had a perfectly round hole in it close to the outer edge, and towards the end of his life he had no tail hairs. He was also recognized by the prominent markings on his trunk, which had the appearance of a round patch of smooth skin.
General: Kambaku was the third member of the Magnificent Seven. He was commonly seen by the rangers of the Kingfisherspruit area and was photographed by many visitors to the Kruger National Park. Uniquely unlike several of the other Magnificent Seven bull, Kambaku was always seen alone.

He was more than 55-years-old when he was shot in late 1985 by Regional Ranger Lynn van Rooyen from the Lower Sabie Ranger Section. The bull was in obvious pain from a bullet wound suffered during a foray across the Crocodile River into a neighboring sugar cane fields. The bullet penetrated his left shoulder, leaving a large wound which eventually became septic. When he could not longer walk and it was clear that death was imminent, he was mercifully shot.
(Kambaku’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

259cm

265cm

Mass (kg)

63.2kg

64kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

51cm

52cm

Mafunyane (Carcass discovered 16th November 1983)

Mafunyane

Origin of Name: This bull was named after former warden of the Kruger National Park Lou Steyn who was well known for his quick temper. (Mafunyane is the Tsonga word for ‘the irritable one’ which appropriately refers to the elephant’s disdain for, and intolerance of humans.)
(Kloppers & Bornman (2005) (A Dictionary of KNP Place Names) gives the meaning of the name as “One who eats greedily”)
Range: This bull roamed in the Shangoni section of the Kruger National Park, which includes the upper reaches of the Shingwedzi River and southwards up to the Bububu stream.
Special Features: Mafunyane’s tusks are fairly straight and their tips are worn to a chisel-edge by as a result of being rubbed on the ground as he moved. His tusks were perfectly symmetrical and of identical length and mass. The bull had a 10cm hole in the right side of his skull that extended into his nasal cavity allowing him to breathe through this passage. One of his toes on his left hind foot was splayed to one side so that he left a distinctive impression, distinguishable from other elephants.
General: Mafunyane was the most famous of the “Magnificent Seven” although he was only seen in the wild by a handful of people, and was rarely seen by visitors as he kept well away from roads. This could be attributed to his shyness or to the fact that he chosen roaming area was very remote. Mafunyane despite having impressive tusks, was not a large bull and was only 327cm at the shoulder, when compared with the average 340cm shoulder height of the other members of the Magnificent Seven.

The immobilization of Mafunyane on the 8 June 1983 to fit a radio collar and to make plaster cases of the bull’s ivory nearly spelled the end for this bull. When given the antidote to the immobilization drugs Mafunyane due to his immense tusk size was unable to ‘rock’ himself onto his chest which would have allowed him to stand up, and his repeated efforts caused him to dig his tusks further into the ground. Several strategies were tried to raise him but all failed. After he had been down for several hours and front end loader was brought into assist the team. Mafunyane was eventually ‘scooped’ to his feet and the bull rose and ran into the nearby Mopane bushes much to the relief of the capture team.

Mafunyane’s remains were found on 16 November 1983 near Tari River, Northwest of Shingwedzi. He had been dead for approximately 3-4weeks and appeared to have died of natural causes. He was about 57 years old when he died.
(Mafunyane’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

251cm

251cm

Mass (kg)

55.1kg

55.1kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

48cm

48cm

Ndlulamithi (c.1927–1985)

NdlulamithiNdlulamithi's Tusks

Origin of Name: Ndlulamithi earned his name from his appearance, which is a traditional Tsonga word meaning “taller than the trees”.
Range: His range was known to occupy a large area between the main road from Mooiplaas to the western boundary and stretching from Byashishi drainage system across to Shingwedzi River to the Phongol River.
Special Features: The handsomely curved tusks of Ndlulamithi, the left one sweeping low and well forward, are significantly more twisted than those of the other large bulls. He was considered a tall Elephant probably around 340 – 345cm high at the shoulder.
General: Ndulamithi was first identified in 1980 along the Nkokodzi River in northern Kruger National Park. He was an aggressive yet secretive elephant, and was seldom seen. This bull received some fame for charging Dr Anthony Hall-Martin and his assistant while they were trying to photograph him on foot, his intentions unmistakable. He died of natural causes in 1985 in the Shangoni area at an estimated 58 years of age. Paul Zway section ranger of Shangoni at the time found his remains not far from the Nkokodzi Spruit.
(Ndulamithi’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

287cm

273cm

Mass (kg)

64.6kg

57.2kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

48.5cm (48.8cm)

48cm

Shawu (October 1982)

Shawu

Origin of Name: The “Shawu Bull” was named after the Shawu valley (Vlei) in which he spent much of his life.
Range: Shawu moved over a large range which spanned the flat Mopani covered plains country between the Letaba and Shingwedzi rivers and stretched from the main road to Lebombo Hills. He did not however, cover this enormous area regularly, but drifted around slowly, taking about 6 months to move from South to North.
Special Features: Shawu’s tusks are the longest on record in the Kruger National Park and one of the 6th longest to ever come out of Africa.
General: Shawu was a fairly approachable animal and showed no particular fear or distrust of vehicles. He was a large bull having a shoulder height of 340cm. Due to the pincer formed by his large tusks he was sometimes referred to in Afrikaans as “Groot Haaktand”. In 1981 it was decided to fit Shawu with a collar as poaching was a constant threat from Mozambique, this was done successfully and he was monitored on a regular basis.

Shawu died of old age in the Kostini area east of Shingwedzi, near the northern watershed of the Shawu Valley (Vlei) in October 1982. He had been ill for some time and his condition and movements were monitored daily towards the end of his life by means of a radio transmitter which had been fitted in a collar around his neck. He was close to 60 years old when he died.
(Shawu’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

317cm

305cm (305.5cm)

Mass (kg)

52.6kg (52.7kg)

50.8kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

45cm

45cm

Shingwedzi (c.1934-1981)

ShingwedziShingwedzi's Tusks

Origin of Name: Shingwedzi was named after the river and rest camp where he spent the last few years of his life. (Shingwedzi means, “place of ironstone” referring to the gabbro rock outcrops common to the area. Shingwedzi is derived from the Tsonga word Ngwetse which means ‘the sound of metal objects rubbing against each other’).
Range: Shingwedzi was known to move as far west as Nkokodzi and Chugamila hills and as far as the Lebombo’s in the vicinity of Shingwedzi Rest Camp.
Special Features: Shingwedzi’s ivory offers a good example of the classic master servant tusks. He had a large right servant tusk and a shorter left master tusk.
General: Shingwedzi was found dead under a Sycamore Fig and short distance from Shingwedzi camp in January 1981, and as far as can be determine he died of natural causes. The age of an Elephant can be fairly accurately determined from the state of wear of the teeth. In the case of Shingwedzi the last molar (molar 6) was well worn down, giving him an estimated age of 65 (56) years.
(Shingwedzi’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left (Master Tusk)

Right (Servant Tusk)

Length (cm)

207cm

264cm

Mass (kg)

47.2kg

58.1kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

47.5cm

48cm


-- Top --



Deceased Large Tuskers

All of the Magnificent Seven, who were born in the 1920s and 30s, have now passed away. They were followed by a number of other great tuskers, including the bearer of the heaviest tusks recorded in Kruger, who have also now passed on.

Scroll down to see and read about each of these great animals.

Alexander (7 February 2009)

Photo by Stuart Basil

Photo by Stuart Bassil

Origin of Name: Named in recognition of Professor Stuart Saunders, who has contributed significantly to research in the Kruger National Park.
Range: Mopani area, often close to the restcamp.
Special Features: Characteristic hole in the right ear lobe, approximately the size of a R5.00 coin. U-shaped notch in the same ear lobe towards the middle area. Square shaped notch in the bottom area of the left ear lobe. Alexander has fairly symmetrical ivory that is not overly substantial in length, but is substantial in the weight of the tusks.
General: This bull appears to be very docile and is seen regularly by staff and guests in the Mopani area. He also appears to be relatively young and so would seem to have potential for considerable tusk growth in the years to come.

Professor Stuart Saunders: Alexander was given this name to recognize the work of Prof Stuart Saunders who was the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and who has since contributed significantly to the research programs in Kruger through the Mellon Foundation. The family name Saunders is said to be traceable back to and derived from Alexander the Great whose emblem was the elephant, as is the crest of the Saunders family.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

233.5cm

244cm

Mass (kg)

49.05kg

51kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

50.5cm

50.5cm

Bububu (October 1998)

Photo by Angela Gaylard


Origin of Name: This bull was named after the Bububu Spruit and windmill, where he was regularly seen. (Bububu meaning ‘the rumbling of flood waters’.
Range: Shangoni Section in the North Western area of the KNP.
Special Features: Bububu had a long and straight right servant tusk and a broken shorter left master tusk. He also ha a notable large tear in his left ear.
General: Bububu was rarely seen because of the remoteness of the area in which he roamed, and due to the fact that there are no tourist roads in this area.

 

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Duke (1 October 2011)

Photo by Francois Wolfaardt

Photo by Marie de la Hunt

Origin of Name: Duke is named for the ranger Thomas Duke who was based at Lower Sabie between 1903 and 1923. A windmill which this bull frequents shares the same name.
Range: This large and docile animal roams in the South of the Kruger National Park between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge Rest Camps, these area’s dominating his home range, he has however been known to roam as far north as Tshokwane and the Metsi Metsi Trails camp.
Special Features: Small square notch in the left ear towards the bottom of the ear lobe, with a small hole slightly above this to the outer edge of the ear lobe. Until recently Duke had fairly straight substantial and long ivory. He has recently broken both his tusks about 20cm from lip line.
General:

Duke was until recently one of the largest of the tuskers in KNP.  Duke is still probably the most photographed of the big tuskers, as he seemed to thrive on human attention and was regularly seen along the tourist roads and hides in his home range. He was well known for his relaxed disposition and was a favourite amongst staff and guests most of whom all have had a personal interaction experience to tell of this well known bull.

In August 2007 Duke sadly broke his left tusk in an attempt to uproot a Leadwood tree, luckily this was reported by forum member Jonathan Heger (also a participant in the ‘duke quest’ which raised funds by forum members for the purchase of 2 cyber trackers for the rangers of the Kruger National Park) who had seen Duke at around 4pm fairly close to Crocodile Bridge and when returning to camp just after 5pm noted that he no longer had 2 tusks, this small time line allowed the section ranger at Crocodile Bridge (Neels van Wyk) to react immediately to retrieve the ivory which is now safely stored in the ivory stores in Skukuza.

Duke broke his last remaining tusk on the 1st of September 2008, he was spotted by the Mpanamana Concessions early morning game drive. Crocodile Bridge Section Ranger Neels van Wyk went to investigate and confirm that it was in fact Duke, sadly it was Duke who now has broken both his magnificent tusks in attempts to uproot trees. Luckily through quick action from Neels and his team they were able to follow Duke’s spoor in an attempt to retrace his steps to hopefully find the missing piece. Luckily after a short distance they were able to retrieve the broken piece of ivory.

On the 16th April 2010, Duke was successfully fitted with a radio collar. This process was made possible due to the absence of his large ivory which would normally have hinder an attempt like this making it impossible for the large bull to stand up again after the sedative. It is hoped this collaring will allow the rangers to get an accurate reading of his home range as well as ensuring that his carcass was recovered with the remaining ivory when he passed away.

Sadly Duke passed away on the 1st of October 2011. On the 6th October Johan Marais (author of the ‘Great Tuskers of Southern Africa) was visiting the Kruger National Park and had requested the the current radio collar location of Duke from the Crocodile Bridge section ranger Neels van Wyk as he wished to photograph the bull. Upon checking the location of Duke, it was noted that the collar signal had stayed in one place for several days since last seen check and seen. Neels van Wyk, followed the signal along the Makambeni spruit west of the S28 tourist road about five kilometres from Crocodile Bridge camp and eventually found Dukes approximately five day old carcass along the Makambeni stream.  According to the collar information he remained in one place from the evening of the first of October. No signs of a fight struggle were evident due to heavy rains on previous nights and the death was considered to be natural although the exact cause cannot be determined. Duke was estimated to be between 52 and 55 years of age at the time of death.

Duke’s tusks were removed and added to the broken pieces already on record in the KNP stores. A remarkable length and weight was recorded when the recordings from both pieces were added together (the tusks were no re-joined) suggesting a possible record in length only of one of the tusks. However after considerable consultation with experts in the field it was agreed that an official record would not be awarded to Duke given the breaking of the tusks. This was due to the reality that the remaining pieces were able to grow uninhibited in his remaining years since the break. Dukes tusks were on the ground at the time of the breaks and from previous evidence from other tusks with similar shapes these would have continued to wear down over time and the final length in this situation cannot be deduced unlike with tuskers such as current record holders Shawu and Mandleve who carried their full ivory at the time of death. (see extract below from Dr Johan Marais who is an expert in tusker and who knew Duke well over the years).

This certainly does not take away from the magnificent nature of this bull and he will be sorely missed as one of the most well know and gentle of the new era of Great Tuskers in the Kruger National Park.

Duke joins the likes of Bububu and Hlanganini as unique in that their tusks were broken before death and all pieces were recovered.

Tusk Data

Left (1) (Broken piece)

Left (2) (Broken piece)

Right (1) (Broken Piece)

Right (2) (Broken Piece)

Length (cm)

175cm

146cm 156cm

133cm

Mass (kg)

37.05kg

33.2kg 32kg

31.9kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

49cm

50cm 49cm

50cm

Gida-Gida (4 July 2012)

Photo by Anja Stolk

Photo by Anja Stolk

Origin of Name: Named in memory of Sgt. Jan Mdluli who served 30 years of loyal service as a field ranger in the Kruger National Park. Gida-Gida is short for the Shangaan expression, Gida-gida nkondzo was Ndlopfu, meaning ‘the one with feet the size of an Elephant’s’ due to the fact that he wears a size 12 shoe.
Range: Letaba
Special Features: This tusker, shows very similar diagnostic ear features to Tsotsi, another bull that can be found in the Letaba area. What is notably different is no square notch under the larger u-shaped notch on the upper right ear lobe which can be seen on Tsotsi. The tusks are similar in shape although with Gida-Gida, there is less notable weight in the ivory than with Tsotsi, and a very prominent ‘grass’ notch is very visible at the tip of the left tusk on this bull and a less prominent one on the right tusk, which can only be seen from certain angles.
General: This bull was first noted in May 2011 by Louis Olivier (Regional Ranger, Nxanatseni South) who had seen him in the Letaba River close to the restcamp and initially thought he was seeing Tsotsi. The tusker was carefully examined as the tusks were not as substantial in weight as expected for Tsotsi. A sighting a little more than a week later by the 2009 Emerging Tuskers Competition Winner, Anja Stolk in which a full series of photos showing unique characteristic’s was provided and confirmed we had a ‘look alike’ with only a few differing features.

Sadly Gida Gida was lost on the 4th of July 2012 and investigation of the tusks and carcass confirmed that this was in fact the popular tusker from the Letaba area. Gida Gida had not yet reached his prime as a large tusker but was growing considerably and had the potential to be a prominent tusker of the area.

  • Jan ‘Gida-Gida’ Mdluli: Sergeant Jan Mduli began his career in the Kruger National Park in 1960 and served 30 years as a field ranger contributing greatly to conservation until his retirement in 1990. In his time in the Kruger National Park, Sgt Mduli’s hard work and commitment saw him progress through the field ranger ranks from Lance Corporal, to Corporal and eventually Sergeant. In this time he served at several rangers sections including, Pretoriuskop, Skukuza, Olifant’s, Vlakteplaas and finally at Shingwedzi where he stayed until his retirement.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

201cm

232cm

Mass (kg)

36.35kg

38.5kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

46cm

46cm

Gomondwane

Photo by FW Schenk

Origin of Name: Named after the Gomondwane waterhole, found halfway between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge on the H4-2 (According to Stevenson Hamilton, the name was that of as person who lived in the area in 1906. Kloppers & Bornman (2005).
Range: Crocodile Bridge/Lower Sabie areas of the Kruger National Park.
Special Features: Short left master tusk with a rather long straight right tusk.
General: Not much is known about this elephant, he was first recorded by guests to the Kruger National Park in 1992, and subsequently occasionally seen during the annual aerial census in the Southern Region of the Kruger National Park.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Hatlani (carcass discovered 15th October 1999)

Origin of Name: ?
Range: Letaba Restcamp and later the Mooiplaas section of the northern Kruger National Park.
Special Features: Hatlani had a straight right tusk, with a shorter curving left tusk. His tusks are strikingly similar to those of the also deceased Mabarule.
General: Hatlani died mysteriously a short time after making is debut in the Mooiplaas section of the Kruger National Park. He had been seen on the Sunset drive by guests on the 14th October 1999, at the T-Junction to the Mopani restcamp. His carcass was discovered the following morning in the same position. He is believed to have died as the result of an encephalomyocarditis induced heart attack. It was only after his death that rangers discovered the presence of Mabarule a virtual ‘ghost’ of Hatlani was also roaming in the Mopani area. Subsequent to this discovery many photo’s previously identified as Hatlani were discovered to actually be early records of Mabarule.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

51.6kg

52.4kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Hlanganini (carcass discovered 27th August 2009, estimated to have been dead for 2 months)

Photo by Kirsty Redman

Photo by Kirsty Redman

Origin of Name: Named for the Hlanganini Spruit (meaning “at the reeds”) where he was first seen. This spruit has its confluence with the Letaba River at Letaba Rest Camp.
Range: Olifants/Letaba
Special Features: Characteristic tear in his left ear lobe given the appearance of a ‘half’ ear. Hlanganini has substantial symmetrical ivory. There is a small growth of the left side of the bulls stomach towards the lower reaches of his abdomen, with several similar sized growths on his front left leg.
General: Hlanganini is currently the largest known tusker in the Kruger National Park that still has both his tusks. He is a fairly old bull and is being closely monitored as a result.

Sadly a report was received on the 5 March 2009 from Jacques Saayman (field guide @ Letaba) that Hlanganini has broken approximately 30cm off his left tusk. Field Rangers have been patrolling the area where it was first noted that he had broken his tusk and little hope was help that the piece would be located. Miraculously the broken piece was recovered on the 19th June 2009 by Mr Andrew Desmet who was conducting guide training in the area and who handed the piece in to local ranger Mr Joe Nkuna. The piece was located at the mouth of the N’wanetsi Spruit, north west of Letaba.

News was received on 27 August 2009 via sms from Louis Olivier (Regional Ranger, Nxanatseni South) who was flying the annual elephant and buffalo census, that the carcass of Hlanganini had been found 10km south of Letaba, the carcass was well worn and appeared to be around 2 months old. This estimation ties in with the last sightings of Hlanganini by staff in mid May and early July 2009. He had been seen numerous times by staff and guests from February 2009 and May 2009, between the Letaba landing strip and the Letaba River this being away from his usual territory between Letaba and Olifants.

Initial thoughts were of a natural death or EMC as he was an older bull. Upon closer investigation of the carcass it would appear that Hlanganini died in a brutal bull fight as there are several puncture wounds on his head area, many of which on the left side were forceful enough to fracture the skull and cause severe injury. This being evident the position in which he was found on his hind knees would appear to have been the manner in which he fell and not an attempt to get up as previously thought.

Dr Ian Whyte estimated him from his teeth status to be approximately 52 years of age.

This is a very sad loss for the KNP as the last big tusker is lost; the new generation has some time before it will reach the status of the old generation.

Tusk Data

Left

Left (Broken Tusk)

Right

Length (cm)

204cm

63cm

270cm

Mass (kg)

45.03kg

4.05kg

55.80kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

50cm

29cm

49cm

Letaba One (1980's)

Origin of Name: This bull was named after the Letaba River in the Northern Section of the Kruger National Park, where he was regularly seen.
Range: Letaba Restcamp and surrounding areas.
Special Features: His left tusk was long and curved, however his right tusk was broken off fairly close to the lip line. He also had a large rounded patch of smooth skin on his trunk.
General: This bull was first recorded in 1979 and was already an old elephant at that stage. He was a docile bull, who was known for repeatedly invading the Letaba Restcamp. Sadly this bull was poached in the 1980’s when poaching from Mozambique was at its worst. This docile creature was shot and killed alongside the Engelhard Dam close to the Restcamp and had, had his tusks removed.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Letaba Two (date unknown)

Origin of Name: This bull was also named after the Letaba River in the Northern Section of the Kruger National Park, where he was regularly seen.
Range: Letaba Restcamp and surrounding areas.
Special Features: Perfectly matched tusks, of approximately 52kg each.
General: This bull was also first recorded in 1979 however he was a much younger bull then his counterpart at the time Letaba One. He was immobilized in 1982 and fitted with a radio collar to track his movements. Unfortunately the collar became defective for no reason and it was decided not to replace it. The bull was not seen again.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Mabarule (carcass discovered 10th November 2004)

Pic taken by Johan Marais

Photo by Johan Marais

Origin of Name: During 1999 the Field Rangers and Conservation Students at Mooiplaas started referring to this elephant as “Mabarule” after their Section Ranger Johann Oelofse’s Tsonga nickname. Johann was so named by his fellow workers due to the size 14 boots in which he patrols his section and after an old Shangaan Chief from the olden days in Mozambique. This Chief Mabarule apparently had conspicuously large feet. (Mabarule meaning ‘Big Feet’)
Range: Mooiplaas section, Nshawu Vlei/Mopani area, he was regularly spotted at the Mooiplaas, Tihongonyeni, and Bowerskop windmills
Special Features: Mabarule had a straight right tusk, with a shorter curving left tusk. He had prominent worn, upturned and cracked toe nails on both his front feet.
General: Mabarule who was first sighted in the Mopani area in 1999 was a very docile animal who showed little aggression. and over the handful of years that he roamed the Mooiplaas Section a close relationship evolved between this elephant and Section Ranger Johann Oelofse and he came to describe him a true “gentle giant” with extremely little to no aggression in him. Johann Oelofse will often recall many special moments spent in very close proximity to the elephant, with “Mabs”, as he would fondly call him, quietly tolerating his presence.

He was frequently seen and photographed by guests. There was initial confusion regarding this bull when he first appeared on the scene, as a similar bull by the name of Hatlani was already roaming in the same area with virtually identical ivory, it took the death of Hatlani on the 16/10/1999 and the movement of Mabarule into the Mooiplaas area to establish that many of the Hatlani sightings were in fact early sightings of Mabarule.

Mabarule died circa 5th November 2004, of apparently of natural causes. His carcass was found on the 10/11/04 with the tusks still in place.

Examination of Bones: An later examination of his bones has revealed arthritic calcification between several of the vertebrae, the joint formed by the skull and the atlas, or first cervical vertebra as well as the fused calcified mass of the 5 neck vertebrae told a tell of what must have been severe pain in his later years. In spite of this, he was an extremely docile elephant who was often seen and photographed by tourists. According to the condition of his molar teeth he was estimated to be between 55 and 56 years old when he died.

One of his more notable habits that was identified after his passing was his continual utlisiing of the cement reservoirs as a drinking source. Most large tuskers cease to use these as a source of water due to the weight of their ivory, however until his death Mabarule continued with this habit and as a result his ivory has well worn flat patches on the underneath due to the abrasive nature of the cement on which he dragged his ivory in order to enjoy a drink of water.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

257cm

278cm

Mass (kg)

48.8kg

54.2kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

46cm

48cm

Mac - APNR (carcass found 31/10/2013 - estimated dead 14 days)

Photo by Michele Henley

Photo by Michelle Henley

Origin of Name: Mac was first collared as part of a 'Green Hunt' in May 2002 during one of his musth periods. His first collar was sponsored by Tony McClellan, hence the origin of his name.
Range: Timbavati/Klaserie and Umbabat Private Reserves adjoining the KNP. This bull however is known for his extensive wanderings and is a regular feature as far north as Shingwedzi and Mopani as well as in the Letaba and Phalaborwa areas.
Special Features: Mac could be easily recognized by the fact that he wore a radio collar. He had fairly symmetrical ivory. There was a prominent wide u-shaped notch in his left ear towards the middle of the lobe. In the same ear there was a large and wide v-shaped tear at the bottom of the ear lobe. In the right ear lobe there was a wide v-shaped notch in the top part of the ear lobe, with a smaller same shaped notch towards the lower to middle area of the lobe.
General: : Mac was well known as one of the longest, large tusked bull that had been continually monitored in Africa, he has provided valuable new information with his home range of over 7000km2. He has provided the APNR team with valuable information on tusk growth, how injuries can influence musth cycles and how breeding ranges can shift over time.

Mac was re-collared in August 2010 and at the time a molar impression was taken to estimate Mac’s age and at the time it was concluded according to Laws that he was 55+/-4 years old. This put him into the older bull category. In July 2013 Mac’s collar had ceased working and there was uncertainty given his tusk size if it would be possible to replace this. SANParks staff who are aware of the bull and who work on the tuskers project were asked to monitor his movements and report any sightings of him to Michelle Henley. His last readings showed him to be north of the Umbabat in the Olifants Rugged veld on the 28th July 2013.

Sadly the carcass of Mac was discovered on the 31st October 2013 by the SANParks anti-poaching team who were flying over the area in the SANParks helicopter towards the Vlakteplaas section. His carcass was found just off the S131 towards Mingerhout Dam in-between the tourist road and the N’wanetsi Spruit. His tusks were fortunately still in place and were recovered by the Phalaborwa Sections Field Rangers. Upon recovery it was noted the bull had a collar, this was retrieved at the same time and sadly the frequency given by Karien Keet (Section Ranger Phalaborwa) was that for Mac which has been given my Michelle Henley from Save the Elephants.

Mac’s death has been determined as natural his teeth showed signs of age, with bone development behind the final set of teeth being well progressed. It was also seen that Mac had a huge abscess in the tooth on the upper left jaw. The abscess went right down into the root canal and must have been very painful. It was also an old abscess as it was blackened and well established. It was clear that Mac was unable to chew with the left side of his jaw for a considerable time. This meant that the wear on his lower left molar was almost non-existent. On the contrary, his lower right molar was very well worn and almost smooth as well as having several cracks and chips missing. This molar was also considerably shorter due to all the wear and tear. He appears to have starved to death, or alternatively that his immune system was severely compromised due to his bad body condition after just having finished his musth cycle four months prior to his death. In addition, the area that he moved in was extremely dry and the rains did not come in time to supplement his diet with soft vegetation and the much needed forage to regain his strength, his carcass was also found a fair distance from water. There were no signs that he had food in his gut as there were no faeces in or around the carcass so it did not appear as if he dispelled his gut as most animals do upon death.

Two concerns were expressed by the vets department in regards to game disease firstly of Anthrax secondly of EMC due to the position in which that carcass had landed supporting a sudden death possibility. Samples of the soil from the mouth area and some of the soft tissue from the ribs was removed for the state vets to perform an Anthrax exam, fortunately the results were negative in this regard. EMC was ruled out at the site as which there was little effort there were signs of shallow furrows at the front feet indicating Mac did try to move himself after collapse, and that his awkward fall and position made this impossible.

"Save the Elephants" Transboundry Elephant Research Programme, Elephant Newsletter - March 2011, Michelle Henley

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

248cm

256cm

Mass (kg)

55.5kg

57.5kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

50cm

51cm

Mahlati (date unknown)

Photo by MJ Vermooten

Photo by MJ Vermooten


Origin of Name
: Named after the Mahlati Stream, a tributary of the Ntshivana, situated in the north of the Kruger National Park. Mahlati was also the name of a chief who lived close to the stream.
Range: South East of Shingwedzi Camp.
General: This bull was first seen at the Mahlati windmill in 1991. And 1992 at the Tsumane windmill by researcher Keith Begg. He was not a well know bull and was rarely seen by guests.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Mambrrr (carcass discovered 30 March 2007)

Pic taken by Johan Marais

Photo by Johan Marais

Origin of Name: This bull was named by Dr Ian Whyte in memory of “Mambrrr” - Philemon Chauke who was a Research Assistant for many years in the Kruger National Park based in Skukuza. (The origin of his name is obscure, but it is believed to come from a locally brewed South African beverage made from peaches known as “mampoer”. The name should be pronounced with a prominent roll of the rrr’s so as to resemble an elephant greeting rumble.)
Range: Tshokwane/Skukuza area (Salitjie near the Nwatindlopfu drift).
Special Features: Small hole and notch in left ear towards the centre of the edge of the lobe, notable tear in the right ear lobe at the bottom of the ear, leaving a small flap of ear close to the body, two small v-shaped notches slightly above the tear. Mambrrr had curved tusks, largely symmetrical, with the left tusk slightly thinner, longer and more curved then the right tusk.
General: This elephant was originally photographed at Leeupan by Dave Jeffery on Wednesday 6th October 2004 and also by Louise Rademan and Tony Swemmer on 19th September 2005 along the Salitje road near the Nwatindlopfu drift. Mambrrr was thought to be a relatively young bull when he was discovered dead on the 30/3/07, and it was thought he had the potential to develop into one of Kruger’s more impressive bulls.

Extract from Tshokwane Section Ranger's Report, Steven Whitfield

In discussion with vet Johan Marais, the indication was that the right molar in the upper jaw could have been lost as the result of a fight being dislodged by another bull or by the formation of an abscess which could have forced the tooth out. This would have made eating extremely difficult for this bull and could have contributed to the untimely death and starvation of this bull.

(Due to this bull being a named tusker, Steven Whitfield preserved the skull of this bull for possible future use in displays. The skull is currently at Tshokwane rangers post.)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

277cm

243cm

Mass (kg)

52.40kg

46.25kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

49cm

48cm

Mandleve (carcass discovered late 1993)

Mandleve

Photo by Darryl Balfour

Origin of Name: This bull was named by Anthony Hall-Martin and Lazarus Mangane. He was given the name Mandleve, an honor which he shared with the then section ranger of Skukuza Louis Olivier. (Mandleve is the Tsonga word for ‘Ears’) Mandleve received this name as a result of the large tear in his left ear.
Range: Skukuza in the south west of the Kruger National Park. He was also known to roam into Sabi Sabi, the private reserve adjoining the Kruger National Park.
Special Features: A horizontal V-Shaped tear in his left ear. Notably thick ivory.
General: Mandleve was first recorded as a large tusker in 1981, but was only named in 1983. Towards the end of his life he spent much of his time on the reed beds of the Sabie River. In 1990 Mandleve was seen to be in poor condition with his ribs and backbone showing, a sure indication that his molars were well worn by this stage. Mandleve died from old age and his carcass and tusks were discovered by Dr Danie Pienaar a young scientist at the time in September 1993 along the power line road next to Kruger gate Road about 10km from Skukuza. He is estimated to have died between 11/6/93 and 28/9/93 Mandleve was said to have been approx. 56 years of age at the time of his death.

Mandleve gained and still holds the title of the heaviest tusks ever recorded tusker in the Kruger National Park, surpassing Phelwane the previous holder of this honor with a combined weight for both tusks of 142,4kg.

(Mandleve’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

236.3cm

233.3cm

Mass (kg)

69kg

73.5kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

53cm

51.5cm

Mandhevhu (carcass discovered 27 March 2010 – estimated to have been dead 5 - 6 days)

Photo by Michele Henley

Photo by Michelle Henley

Origin of Name: Named in memory of Douw ‘Swannie’ Swanepoel who served in the Kruger National Park as a ranger from 1982 – 2001 (Mandhevhu meaning ‘beard’ was given to Swannie due to the wild red beard he always sported during his time in the Kruger National Park)
Range: 7km south of Mopani up to Shingwedzi
Special Features: Small hole in left ear lobe towards the lower middle of the lobe and he point at the bottom of the lobe, as well as small wide v-shaped a notch towards the top of the same lobe. Right tusk shows signs of being broken some time back and has since smoothed over and grown in length. From sightings by Johan Marais it would appear that one of his back legs is stiff so he walks with an audible "sleepvoet".
General: In March/April 2008, this bull was spotted several times, the first recent submission was from Michele Henley (researcher) who tracks the famous ‘Mac’ from the Timbavati she recorded this bull associating with Mac in the Mooiplaas area. On the 1st April section ranger Johann Oelofse (Mooiplaas) managed to photograph the same bull in the surrounding area and was curious as to the identity of the bull, as he is a frequent visitor to Mooiplaas. Coupled with a guest submission at the same time it was decided to immediately name the bull and to continue to monitor him.

Upon further investigations a bull previous labelled as unknown in the Shingwedzi area shares the same characteristics as Mandhevhu and was sighted as far back as October 2004. However, in these recordings the break in the tusk was considerably newer. It is thought that this could be the same bull, unfortunately records from then do not show identifiable ear markings so ID cannot be confirmed.

In 2009, sightings of this bull increased and he seemed to enjoy the public attentions and submissions increased dramatically as a result. The last submission received before his death showed Mandevhu in good condition in February 2010.

Sadly the carcass of Mandhevhu was discovered by Mooiplaas Section Ranger, Johann Oelofse on the 27th of March 2010, west of Mooiplaas wind pump in the stretch of bush between the windpump and the Letaba/Shingwedzi tarred road. Unfortunately the carcass was in an advanced state of decomposition so the cause of death could not be determined. Vultures alerted Johann to the presence of the carcass and at the time of discovery Mandhevhu was thought to have been dead between 7 - 10 days. A later sighting submitted by S. Lawrey showed Mandevhu alive on the 21st of March 2010; this narrowed his estimated time of death to between 5 - 6 days prior to his carcass being discovered.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

2.56cm

1.98m

Mass (kg)

58.55kg

45.85kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

51.5cm

51.5cm

Masorini

Pic taken by Stuart Basil

Photo by Stuart Bassil

Origin of Name: This bull named for the Masorini Hill and archaeological site close to the Phalaborwa Gate.
Range: Masorini archaeological site and surrounding areas. More recently he has been sighted in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park.
Special Features: Very clean ears, slight large elongated u-shaped notch on the right ear towards the top of the ear lobe, indistinguishable unless the ears fully extended. Right tusk curved slightly higher then the right tusk. Thickening areas are evident on the trunk towards the middle.
General: This is an impressive bull, who is very placid but is seldom seen. After confusion as to his existence with the identification of Mastulele, he has since been considered a ‘look a like’ bull as he has been seen in the same area’s and shares very similar characteristics to Mastulele including tusk shape and size, fairly clean ears and truck thickening. Differences include the ear notch on Mastulele which has a small hole below the notch not being evident on Masorini, and after a bull fight in early 2008 Mastulele shows prominent scar areas at the top of his trunk and alongside his left tusk, in additional to the thickening they both show.

A carcass believed to be that of Masorini was discovered next to the tar road from Phalaborwa to Mopani by Mooiplaas section ranger Johann Oelofse on the 12th February 2010. Johann estimated the carcass to be as recent as a day old as all anatomy was still intact, no scavengers having damaged the carcass. Recorded features including the shape and size of the ivory and left ear notches lead to the conclusion this was Masorini and not Mastulele. This bull would appeared to have died as a result of injuries caused in a bull fight, a particularly large tusk entry wound was found on the abdomen behind the right front leg.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

241cm

260cm

Mass (kg)

54.25kg

47.55kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

49.5cm

51cm

Masbambela (carcass discovered 7th November 2006)

Pic by Johan Marais

Photo by Johan Marais

Origin of Name: Named in honor of ex-ranger Ben Pretorius who worked in the Kruger National Park from 1966 – 2001. (Masbambela meaning ‘one who can stand his man’)
Range: West of Shingwedzi, generally well away from the main tourist routes. He has been seen at Gumbandevu (Punda Maria) Red Rocks (Shingwedzi)
Special Features: Two very symmetrical tusks curving inward at the tips. The left tusk was broken before his death, and was detected in the 2006 census. There was a small round hole in right ear towards the middle of the lobe and Masbambela was know to have a protuberant growth on his scrotum area in later years.
General: It was estimated that Masbambela’s tusks were probably only second in size to Duke’s (before the break). The carcass of this bull was located on the 7 November 2006 in the Mponda block of the Woodlands section by then ranger David Manganye. He sadly had broken his left tusk before he died, the date of the break is unknown, but was detected in the 2006 census in August 2006. The missing piece was never recovered.

Ben ‘Masbambela’ Pretorius: (1967 – 2001): Ben Pretorius was a Section Ranger in the services of SANParks for more than 35 years before his retirement in 2001.

Tusk Data

Left (Broken Tusk)

Right

Length (cm)

207cm

231cm

Mass (kg)

42.75kg

49.05kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

47cm

48cm

Mashagadzi (carcass discovered 10th May 2007)

Pic taken by Dr Ian Whyte

Photo by Dr Ian Whyte

Origin of Name: Mashagadzi is named after the waterhole just south of the Shingwedzi camp, where he was often seen by staff. (The name is an historical one of someone (probably a Headman) who lived in the area in the past.)
Range: Shingwedzi Rest Camp area
Special Features: Two relatively straight tusks, with the left one being slightly shorter then the right. There was a well worn patch on the tip of the right tusk, presumably from an old break. Large tennis ball sized and shaped growth on his rear right leg. Mashagadzi had a square shaped notch on his left ear towards the middle of the lobe, and a R2.00 size hole below this slightly in from the edge of the lobe on the same ear. He also had a noticeable v-shaped wedge missing from the right ear lobe towards the top section of the ear.
General: Mashagadzi was a very docile bull and is often seen and photographed by staff and guests. He was a particularly large bull with a shoulder height in excess of 3.4m which added to the prominence of his tusks. The carcass of this bull was discovered on the 10 May 2007 a few kilometers from the Shingwedzi camp (GPS: 23º5.946 S 31º25.742 E) it was estimated that the bull had been dead approximately 3 days due to the state of decomposition. A report was received per email from a guest (Yvonne Stiglingh) by K.Redman (co-ordinator Emerging Tuskers competition) that he was in difficulty, this was conveyed to the vets and the Shingwedzi ranger at the time Agnes Mukondeleli, unfortunately the carcass had been found the morning the report had been received. Mashagadzi died of wounds received during a fight with another bull, a particularly large wound on his left shoulder was severely infected and would have been the direct cause of his death. A time line put together from photo’s submitted by guests subsequently to the carcass having been found showed the wound to have been there from around the 21st of April 2007, given this along with the date the carcass was discovered would indicated a fairly fast decline, and sadly a painful death of this magnificent animal.

Tusk Data

Left (Broken Tusk)

Right

Length (cm)

269cm

279cm

Mass (kg)

49.6kg

52.8kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

47cm

48cm

Mashangaan…….(Ma Xangane)

Photo by Jenni Lane

Photo by Robert Bryden

Origin of Name: Named in honor of Mike English, who served in conservation for 33 years as a section ranger in the Kruger National Park. (Ma Xangane, meaning ‘one who speaks Shangaan’ referring to Mikes ability to converse fluently in the Shangaan language)
Range: Letaba Restcamp
Special Features: Prominent large square shaped notch in the left ear lobe towards the top of the lobe. Right ear severely ragged, with several v&u-shaped notches along the full lobe. Left tusk longer and straighter the right tusk
General: This bull was first discovered and photographed by Kirsty Redman and Johan Marais in the Letaba Restcamp area. He has substantial ivory and has the time and ability to develop into a notable tusker. Mashangaan was named in 2008 during the judging for the Emerging Tuskers Competition and was the joint 4th place winner for the same competition.

Tusk Data

Left (Broken Tusk)

Right

Length (cm)

248cm

207cm

Mass (kg)

42.9kg

37.30kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

46cm

45cm

Massunguine (carcass discovered 15th May 2007)

Pic taken by Trevor Fourie

Photo by Trevor Fourie

Origin of Name: This bull was named for Phineas Maluleke, who served a notable career in the Kruger National Park as a field ranger. (Massunguine meaning ‘?’)
Range: Shingwedzi and Mooiplaas areas
Special Features: Massunguine has very well matched slightly curved tusks. He also had a swelling on the front part of his trunk towards the top which could be used to easily identify this bull. Other notable traits included his left tusk, having what is know as a tool notch at the tip, a u-shaped wedge was missing from his left ear lobe towards the top of the ear and a smaller v-shaped notch missing from the right ear, toward the bottom of the ear lobe.
General: Masunguine was first photographed from the helicopter in August 2004 in the Mahlati (Shingwedzi) area. He was a relatively young bull who had the potential becoming one of Kruger’s biggest. Sadly carcass of this bull was discovered by Mooiplaas ranger Johann Oelofse in the 15 May 2007 just south of the Dzombo West Windmill, after a report by guests that an elephant had seen a dead elephant on the S-144 near a dam. It was suspected that the carcass was no more the 2 days old when discovered. Massunguine appeared to have died in a bull fight, as 2 holes one behind the right shoulder and the other high on the left side of the neck were found. Massunguine is estimated to have been 53 years of age when he passed away.

Hi Sarah and Kirsty
Many thanks for this photo Sarah. It is very useful. According to the ageing scheme developed by Laws (1966), the condition of the teeth would place Massunguine at 53 years old.
Sorry for the delay in this response, but have been away on leaver for the past 5 weeks.
With best wishes to you both.
Ian
Reference: LAWS, R.M. 1966. Age criteria for the African Elephant (Loxodonta a. Africana) East African Wildlife Journal 4: 1-37.
(E-mail re. Massunguine age, from Dr Ian Whyte)

Phineas ‘Massunguine’ Maluleke: ?

Tusk Data

Left (Broken Tusk)

Right

Length (cm)

272cm

258cm

Mass (kg)

52.75kg

53.25kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

47cm

48cm

Mazithe (date unknown)

Photographer unknown


Origin of Name
: This bull was named after the Mazithe Dam, 8km NW of Tsokwane where he was recorded for the first time. (Mazithe was the name of a former inhabitant of the area)
Range: Tsokwane/Satara and Orpen areas
Special Features: Distinctive left floppy ear
General: This elephant was only every seen between 1991 and 1995 by a handful of guests who submitted their photo’s to Skukuza, he was elusive, but his distinctive floppy left ear made him easily recognisable.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Mlondozi (11th October 1998).....(Mafagalamba)

Photo by Johan Marais

Origin of Name: Named after the Mlondozi Spruit, which flows east of Lower Sabie Restcamp to meet up with the Sabie River at the foot of the Lebombo Mountains. (Kloppers & Bornman (2005) give the origin of the as coming from the “Balondolozi”, a section of the Inyatsi Regiment of Mswati II who were stationed on this spruit during their battles with the Tsonga (1856 – 1860) i.e. “The place of the Balondolozi Regiment”.)
Range: Lower Sabie area of the Kruger National Park, although he was also seen as far south as Crocodile Bridge and as far north as the Tshokwane Picnic site.
Special Features: This bull had generally distinctive ragged ears, however a distinctive cut at the bottom of the left ear leaving a loose notch with a small hold next to it was particularly notable.
General: This elephant was incorrectly identified 2 years before his death around 5m north of Tshokwane as a new bull, by someone who did recognize his as Mlondozi as a result her was named Mafagalamba to those who thought they had identified a new bull, this was corrected later before his death and those who knew the bull identified the records as the same animal. This bull was seen in late winter 1998 and appeared to be very thin. Mlondozi died near the Mlondozi Dam on the 11 October 1998.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Muliluane (end 2007 - exact date unknown)

Muliluane

Photographer unknown

Origin of Name: This bull was named after Ranger Harry Kirkman, who served as a ranger in the Kruger National Park between 1933 and 1958. (Muliluane meaning ‘small fire’)
Range: This bull is known to move between the Sabie-Sands Private Nature Reserve and the Skukuza section of the Kruger National Park. He was recently sighted as far south as Biyamithi Bushveld camp, which is a new area for this bull.
Special Features: This bull has very widely spaced straight ivory with the left tusk being notably longer then the right. He has a prominent square notch/tear in his left ear towards the top of the ear lobe, with a loose piece of skin just below that. On the same ear, there is a notable hole towards the outer edge of the earlobe towards the bottom of the lobe.
General: This name Muliliuane seemed appropriate to give this bull as he is known to move between Kruger and the Sabie-Sand Private Nature Reserve. Harry Kirkman started his career in the Sabie-Sand, then moving to Kruger as a Ranger and returning to Sabie-Sand as Warden after his retirement from Kruger.

Last official sightings of this bull were on the 10th and 11th October 2007 in the Sabie Park picnic area, the photo's having been submitted for the emerging tusker's competition.

Recent investigations on other tuskers that have been collared revealed that sadly Muliliuane died in late 2007 (the exact date is unknown) from complications during a collaring effort in the Sabie Sands adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Given the bull died on private land, the ivory is in the possession of the landowner on whose property the bull died. Unfortunately this means that the tusk data is unavailable for the data records.

Nhlangulene (1932 - 1987)

Photo source: Letaba Elephant Hall

Origin of Name: This bull was named after the Nhlangulene Spruit, a tributary of the Mbhatsi, which runs south west of the N’wanetsi. (Nhlanguleni is a Tsonga word meaning ‘at the magic guarri’)
Range: Nhlangulene spent most of his time wandering in the Wilderness are on the Western Boundary of the Tshokwane/Satara sections, where only a few visitors and a firebreak crossed his home range.
Special Features: Nhlangulene’s right tusk was shorter and lighter, having broken it sometime earlier in his life.
General: Little is know of this mysterious Elephant with an unobtrusive lifestyle, although he was secretive and seldom seen, he is nevertheless a worthy member of the great tuskers of the Kruger National Park.

Nhlangulene developed impressive tusks which were discovered in 1987 by game guards while on patrol, shortly after he had died of natural causes. His age was estimated at 55 years.
(Nhlangulene’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

262cm

204cm (205cm)

Mass (kg)

62.2kg

46.9kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

49cm

59cm

Oscar (carcass discovered 13th February 2007)

Photo by Dr Ian Whyte


Origin of Name
: Named by Dr Ian Whyte’s grandchildren (Timothy and Christopher Whitfield), who saw him regularly en route to school between Tshokwane and Skukuza.
Range: Tshokwane
Special Features: Shallow tear in right ear at the top of the ear lobe
General: A carcass with similar ivory was found in the Tshokwane section of the Kruger National Park at the Metsi Metsi windmill, it is assumed that this is Oscar as very little was know about this bull.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?)

Mass (kg)

41.35kg

45.60kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Punda Maria (date unknown)

Origin of Name: This bull was name after the northern most camp in the Kruger National Park.
Range: Punda Maria Restcamp and the wilderness area to the north of this.
Special Features: Punda had a very long left tusk that curved inwards below the tip of the shorter right master tusk, which had a distinctive crack at the tip.
General: This bull was first photographed by one of the Kruger National Parks pilots Mr Piet Otto near Punda Maria in 1987. Louis Olivier ranger at the time saw the bull regularly in the far north of the Kruger National Park. Like Mafunyane this bull had a short temper and did not like being approached.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Phelwana (….. - 1988)

Photo source: Letaba Elephant Hall

Origin of Name: Phelwana was named by Anthony Hall-Martin when he was seen emerging from the Phelwana stream and tributary of the Timbavati in the central region of the Kruger National Park. (Origin of the name is unknown but was possibly a person of long ago – probably a Sotho person (Kloppers & Bornman 2005).
Range: Phelwana frequented the Kingfisherspruit ranger’s section, west of Satara. During the latter part of the 1980’s Phelwana adopted the habit of breaking trough the Park’s western boundary fence where he was often seen in Manyeleti, Timbavati and other nature reserves.
Special Features: Phelwana has a large round hole on the out edge of his left ear. Phelwana had notable weight to his ivory.
General: Phelwana was first recorded in 1980 during the annual aerial census. He was average sized bull, reaching 325cm at the shoulder and with a forefoot circumference of 152cm. On the 22nd January 1988 game scout Armand Ndhlouvu of the Kingfisherspruit Section reported that Pelwana was in difficulty, noting that he had been shot and that his condition was poor and he could scarcely walk. Assistance was called in and the elephant was darted for examination. A bullet wound from a heavy caliber rifle in the neck region had gone septic, and has also shattered his lower jawbone which made feeding and drinking extremely difficult. There was little hope of saving him and it was agreed to put him down.

Phelwana’s magnificent tusks were the heaviest in the collection, together weighing 135.5kg until the inclusion of Mandleve, now the heaviest recorded bull in Southern Africa.
(Phelwane’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

257cm

277cm

Mass (kg)

63.8kg

71.7kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

54cm

56cm

Shipandani (date unknown)

Photo by Keith Begg

Origin of Name: This bull was named for the Shipandani Hills, in the Mooiplaas area of northern Kruger National Park. (This bulls name was taken from the Tsonga word Panda which means ‘that which divides or splits’)
Range: Mooiplaas, northern Kruger National Park
Special Features: One long left tusk, but no apparent right tusk
General: Very little is known about this elephant. He was photographed by Keith Begg at Grysbok windmill 14km north of Mopani Restcamp in Oct 1993.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Shishangane (carcasss discovered December 1996)

Photographer unknown

Origin of Name: This bull shares his name with the Shishangane Spruit, a tributary of the N’wanetsi. (Shishangane is taken from the Tsonga word Shishanga meaning ‘a ritual used to ensure that any undertaking is successful’)
Range: The area between Satara and N’wanetsi in the central Kruger National Park.
Special Features: This bull had two symmetrical inward curving tusks. He sadly broke the left tusk towards the end of his life.
General: Shishangane’s carcass was found in December 1996 by the N’wanetsi field rangers between Kumana and Sweni windmills on the Mtumzululuku spruit. He appeared to have been dead for approximately 3 months, his bottom molars were worn out completely so his death is attributed to natural causes. He was estimated to be approximately 60years of age at the time of death.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

Approx. 59.5 kg (‘stump’ 27kg)

50.5kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Spirowiri (date unknown)

Photographer unknown

Origin of Name: This tusker was named by Dr Ian Whyte for the Spirowiri waterhole in the Shingwedzi River. (Spirowiri is the Tsonga word meaning ‘two difficult tasks’)
Range: Shingwedzi area in far northern Kruger National Park
Special Features: Well matched tusks, slightly bowed and curved.
General: This bull was regularly seen between Shingwedzi and Red Rocks between 1989 and 1997.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Tshokwane (September 1998)

Tshokwane

Photographer unknown

Origin of Name: This bull derives his name from the Tshokwane Picnic site.
Range: Tshokwane section and Metsi-Metsi trails area.
Special Features: Characteristic V notch in right ear. Both of his tusks were broken before his death and different levels.
General: Tshokwane is probably most famous for the ‘death charge’ on well know wildlife photographer Daryl Belfour, at the time Tshokwane ranger Johann Oelofse was given instructions to seek and destroy the bull after the near fatal charge. However it was decided to do a full investigation of the scene first. It was found through study of the spoor markings that several mock charges were done distinguishable by the depth of the footprints left in the ground. It was concluded that the human element had caused the charge and it was agreed that the bull would not be destroyed. Tshokwane field rangers found the carcass of this formidable bull on the 14th September 1998 near the Orpen Dam. He had several wounds on his body and it was therefore assumed he had been in a fight with another bull, and his wounds had proved fatal. He was estimated to be approximately 55 years at the time of death.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

51.3kg

59.5kg (27kg broken piece)

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Tshilonde (date unknown)

Photographer unknown

Origin of Name: This impressive bull was named by Dr Ian Whyte after a waterhole situated South East of Shingwedzi Camp where he is often seen. (Tshilonde is the Venda/Tsonga word meaning ‘wound or sore’) The elephant was named after the place, and there is no connection between the meaning of the word and the elephant.
Range: Shingwedzi Restcamp and the area to the SE of it.
Special Features: His tusks were almost identical to Dzombo’s, and he had a distinctive kink in his tail.
General: When Tshilonde was last seen he had broken one of his tusks. Like Mashagadzi he lived in the area around Shingwedzi restcamp, and was often seen by tourists especially between 1994 and 1998.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Xamariri (date unknown).....(Shamariri)

Photo by Keith Begg

Origin of Name: This bull was named by Dr Ian Whyte after the Shamiriri Hill situated on the main watershed between the Letaba and Olifants Rivers. (Shamiriri is the Tsonga word meaning ‘the hairy one/of hair’, this name
Range: Letaba/Olifants areas of the Kruger National Park.
Special Features: This bull did not have any distinctive ear markings, and could only be identified by his straight downward curving tusks.
General: Xamariri was first seen in 1992 by Mr Lutner. Afterwards he was seen regularly in the Letaba and Olifants areas.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

?

?

Mass (kg)

?

?

Circumference at Lip (cm)

?

?

Xilowa (April 1998).....(Shilowa)

Photo by Keith Begg

Origin of Name: Pronounced and commonly spelt Shilowa this bull was named by Dr Ian Whyte after the Shilowa koppie situated near the Mozambique boarder, where it was known that a strange man used to live. (Shilowa is the Tsonga word for “the bewitched one”)
Range: Mooiplaas and southwards towards the Letaba Restcamp
Special Features: Shilowa had a straight long right tusk and a much sorter left master tusk.
General: Shilowa was regularly seen between 1992 and 1998. His carcass was found by game guards near the Nshawu No. 1 windmill east of Mopani on the 14 April 1998. Johann Oelofse Ranger at Mooiplaas Section at the time did the investigation and estimated that Shilowa had been dead for approximately 5 days and it appeared that he died from natural causes. According to Johann his feet had healed well from the ‘sole problems’ that had plagued him over the 2 years before his death with scars only being visible on one hind foot.

Shilowa’s right tusk had a crack up the length, while the underside had deep reservoir scars unique to Kruger Elephants.

Tusk Data

Left

Right

Length (cm)

215cm

237cm

Mass (kg)

38.75kg

47.3kg

Circumference at Lip (cm)

46cm

47cm


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Emerging Tuskers Project

Help the 'big tusker' legend live on in Kruger National Park

Scientists in the Kruger National Park are studying these impressive animals to identify all of the Park's large tuskers and clearly define their home ranges.

Information is compiled from annual aerial censuses, and specific collaring and tracking projects. This work helps to improve our understanding of these animals and ensures future visitors will be able to appreciate them.

You can help us by providing photographs and information about any tusker you see within Kruger National Park and neighbouring private reserves. Any elephant with remarkable tusks (more than 1m long) is of interest. Full face images showing both tusks and ears are most useful. Close-up shots of any characteristic features will also be appreciated. Detailed information about the location and date of the sighting is crucial.

How to take and submit photos

You can help us with our research on emerging tuskers by providing photographs and information about any tusker you see within Kruger National Park and the neighbouring private reserves.

How to take tusker photos:

Any elephant with remarkable tusks (more than 1.5m from the lip line) is of interest. Full frontal images showing both tusks and ears are most useful. Individual elephants are identified by their ear notches and any unique features (scars, swellings, etc.) they might have. Close-up shots of ear notches, full ivory, side views, special markings and trunk patterns will be most helpful. General wildlife photography tips apply. Prepare in advance by charging batteries, bringing enough film/digital storage cards, and if you have a telephoto lens, set your camera properly considering the time of day, weather (ISO, aperture) etc. Make sure your photos are in focus. Be patient, the animals may not move or behave the way you wish they would. Please remain a safe distance away at all times.

How to submit your images:

Larger sized images are preferable but no more than 2MB - 4MB per email/photo. Please identify each print/slide/digital image by a clear name/number on each photo. You may send photos to the postal or email address below with the below information included:

Detailed information about the location and date of the sighting is crucial!

Post your images to:

Letaba Elephant Hall/Emerging Tuskers Project
Kruger National Park
Private Bag X402
Skukuza
1350
South Africa

Or

Email your images to:

tuskers@sanparks.org
(this is a no response email address, for submissions only)
Alternatively for submission and identification you can send these directly to:
kirsty.redman@sanparks.org

Rules and requirements:

Thank you for contributing to our research on tuskers!

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Frequently asked African Elephant questions

These are some of the most frequently asked questions posed at Letaba Elephant Hall. They are organized into the following sections:

If you have a question which is not included below, see if you can find the answer on one of the sites listed on our links page. If not, feel free to send us a question. If we can answer it, we will include the question and answer on this page.

Behaviour

How long do elephants sleep for?

Elephants sleep for a total of four to five hours during a 24 hour period. They will normally sleep for a number of short periods rather than several hours in one go.

Do elephants lie down to sleep?

Yes, elephants will sometimes sleep lying down. Since they can feel threatened when they are not standing up, they will usually only do this away from roads or other public areas.

How much do African elephants eat, drink and excrete?

African elephants eat around 4-6% of their bodyweight per day. A large bull may eat up to 300 kg a day.
Only 44% of the food is assimilated and African elephants will excrete around 150 kg of dung each day.
An African elephant bull can drink up to 100 lt of water at a time, and 227 lt per day.

What do African elephants eat?

Elephants are able to eat a range of different foods. Their physical size, tusks and trunk mean they can access potential food from ground level up to 6m in height. As well as eating grass they are able to pick up fruit, nuts and seeds. They can pull off leaves and strip bark. They may even break off branches and uproot whole shrubs and small trees. Diet depends on habitat and varies across seasons. In general, elephants will eat grasses in the rainy season and more woody plants in the dry season.

Do elephant graveyards exist?

The idea that old elephants will seek out a secret area to lay down and die is a popular myth. It featured in the Tales of the Arabian Nights when Sinbad the Sailor was taken by a group of elephants to an area strewn with elephant bones. More recently, the idea was promoted in several Tarzan movies.

When an old elephant's last tooth wears down, it finds it difficult to chew food. In its last days it may stay in marshy areas where it can easily find soft vegetation. This means many elephants die in similar locations, often far away from the movements of the main herds.

Elephants also sometimes collect the bones of dead elephants and pile them together. This can give the appearance of a constructed graveyard.

Do elephants mourn their dead?

Elephants have strong social bonds and good memories but it is now known whether they can experience grief in the same way as humans.

They certainly seem to have a fascination with their dead. They will approach carcasses, touching and smelling them and sometimes trying to revive them. Mothers have been seen carrying their dead babies around for several days. Elephants will investigate old bones, pick them up and move them around.

They are also known to cover their fallen comrades with branches and debris. Other dead animals, including lion or even trampled hunters, may also be treated in this way.

How many young do African elephants have?

An African elephant cow may first conceive from the age of 9 -11 years and the gestation period is almost 2 years. The interval between subsequent births can be anywhere between 4 to 9 years depending on conditions such as drought or overcrowding. Birth rates peak during the rainy season when conditions are most favourable for the new calf. Twin births have been known but are rare.

What is the gestation period of an African elephant?

The gestation period for African elephants is 22 months. By 3 months the ears, tail and trunk are present.

Are African elephants territorial?

African elephants are not territorial but they have ‘home ranges' in which they tend to remain. Ranges vary with habitat and can be from 14–8,700 km2. In Kruger National Park, home ranges vary from 126-1000 km2.

Facts and Figures

How many elephants are there in Kruger National Park?

The 2005 census gave a figure of 12,467 elephants within Kruger National Park. Of these 1,769 were lone bulls and 10,698 were sighted within breeding herds.

How many African elephants are there in the wild?

The African Elephant Status Report published in 2002, gives an estimate of between 400,000 and 600,000 elephants throughout Africa.

Southern Africa is thought to have the highest number of elephants (estimated at 246-300,000) with Eastern Africa following (118-163,000). Estimated figures for Central Africa (16,500-196,000) are quite broad. West Africa (5,500-13,200) has the smallest and most fragmented population.

How large are African elephants?

The largest elephant every recorded was 4m tall and weighed 12000 kg. It was shot in Angola in 1974. Its body is now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.

How fast can an African elephant run?

African elephants normally walk at around 6 km/h but can charge at 40 kmh/h.

Tuskers/Ivory

Which is the biggest tusker in the Kruger National Park?

The heaviest recorded ivory in the Kruger National Park belonged to Mandleve who died in 1993. His tusks weighed 69 and 73.5 kg each.

The longest ivory of any of the Magnificent Seven belonged to Shawu. His tusks measured 305 and 317 cm each. This is the longest ivory recorded in Southern Africa.

The largest current tusker is thought to be Mastulele, who can be seen predominately around the Letaba/Middelvlei area of Kruger, although his range does extend as far south as the Klaserie adjacent to the KNP.

What is the biggest ivory in the world?

The heaviest tusk ever recorded weighed 117 kg. It originated from Benin and was exhibited in Paris in 1900. Its whereabouts is no longer known.

The heaviest pair of tusks known to be in existence weigh 102 kg and 107 kg each. They originated from near Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa and are currently owned by the Natural History Museum in London.

The longest pair of tusks known to be in existence measure 335 cm and 349 cm each. They originate from the Eastern Congo and are currently owned by the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Bibliography

APPS: Smithers' Mammals of Southern Africa. A Field Guide, Struik, Cape Town, 2000

Blanc, Thouless, Hart et al: African Elephant Status Report 2002, The World Conservation Union, 2002

Bosman/Hall-Martin: The Magnificent Seven and the other great tuskers of the Kruger National Park, Human & Rousseau, Cape Town, 1994

Estes: The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals, The University of California Press, Berkeley, 1991 Wikipedia.com


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How to age an elephant

It is possible to make a rough estimate of an elephant's age from its physical size but this varies between individuals. Open wide please!

The most reliable way to age an elephant is by looking at its teeth.

An elephant's molars, necessary for grinding up plant material, are replaced six times during its lifetime. These molars form at the back of the jaw, and move slowly forward and upward. Each set is gradually worn down and replaced by the next set. The replacement of these molars can be linked directly to age so, by identifying the molars in use, the age span of the elephant can be determined.

Once the sixth set has worn down, the animal is unable to chew food anymore and dies of starvation.

For more accurate calculations, scientists look at the exact position of the molars within the jaw. They also examine the dentine and cement on the roots of the teeth. New layers are laid down every year, so counting the number of layers on the molar can give a more precise age.

For more information see Richard Laws' classic paper:

Laws, R.M. (1966) Age criteria for the African elephant, Loxondonta africana africana. E. Afr. Wildl. J. 4,1-37.


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Counting elephants

How do we know how many elephants there are in Kruger National Park?

Kruger National Park is the size of a small country. It is home to a vast number of animals including thousands of elephants. How do we know how many there are? Many animals can be seen from public roads but there are large areas of the park which are impossible to access by vehicle. The only answer is to get a bird's eye view from the air.

For over forty years, the annual elephant air census has taken place in Kruger each winter. The pilot and observers spend several weeks flying through the park, counting every elephant they see. In some game surveys, scientists will only count animals in a small sample area and then draw conclusions about the amount of wildlife in a larger region. Kruger has always conducted a total count of all its elephants.

The count usually takes place in August or September when visibility is highest. There are few leaves on the trees, the grass is pale and dry and the skies are clear. In these conditions elephants may easily by seen up to 5km away.

Photo Left: Kruger's elephant scientist, Dr Ian Whyte, counts a herd of elephants from the air

Using a helicopter, observers are able to circle large herds. They may then see all the animals, including calves, in a group. The number of calves is recorded so that we can see how the population is developing. Three observers join the pilot so that they can watch from every side of the aircraft. One person records each elephant on a detailed map of the area. For large herds, photographs may also be taken to double-check figures when back on the ground.

Between them Simon Khoza and Obert Mathebula (Photo right) have provided ground support for Kruger's elephant census for almost a quarter of a century

In 2005, Kruger's elephant population was found to be 12,467. 1,769 were lone bulls and 10,698 were sighted within breeding herds.


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Tusks & Ivory

Both male and female African elephants grow tusks. They have a variety of uses. They may be used to dig holes, rip up vegetation, strip bark from trees and lever heavy objects. They are also used for self-defence, and in aggressive attacks. Some animals can sometimes be seen resting their trunks on their tusks.

What are tusks?

Elephant tusks are upper incisor teeth, which grow very long. They are similar to human teeth, consisting of a central core of pulp, covered in dentine and encased in bone-like cementum. The internal dentine, making up 95% of the tusk, is the substance commonly referred to as ‘ivory'. It is a combination of mineral-based connective tissue and collagen proteins, making it very strong. Young elephants also have a layer of enamel at the very tip of their tusks but this is soon worn off and not replaced.

How do they grow?

Elephant and mammoth dentine has a characteristic cross-hatching pattern (also known as Lines of Schreger or engine-turnings) which can be used to identify ivory. This is not present in the tusks of other animals.

Tusks grow throughout an elephant's life although they may wear down or even break due to extensive use or major clashes. Many elephants favour one tusk over the other (effectively they are left- or right- tusked just as you are left- or right-handed). The most-used, or ‘master' tusk is usually shorter than the ‘servant' as it is worn-down by regular use. Often the most gentle bull elephants have the largest tusks in a population, as they are less likely to break them in a fierce clash.

About one quarter of the tusk is housed within the elephant's skull, which has developed in order to be able to bear the weight of these huge teeth.

Do other animals have ivory?

Animals such as walruses and warthogs have well-developed canine teeth which could be described as tusks. These are not generated in the same way as elephant tusks and the material is not as strong or as suitable for carving. Only elephant tusks have a cross-hatch pattern when viewed in cross-section, and the term ivory is generally only applied to this material.

Rhino horns are made from keratin, the same substance that is found in human hair and fingernails.

Ivory use

Ivory has always been valued by man as a decorative article. It is prized as an excellent material for carving. The Old Testament records that King Solomon ordered his throne to be made of ivory as long ago as 1000BC. The ancient Greeks and Romans also valued the substance.

The ivory trade peaked in the 19th century when ivory was considered a symbol of wealth and status. It was used to make buttons, brush handles, letter openers, fans, billiard balls, piano keys and statues. In the 1980s, Japan was the biggest consumer of ivory in the world. Much of it was used to carve personal signature stamps called hankos. Everyone in Japan needs a seal to do business and those made from ivory became a popular sign of high social rank.


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Elephants for Kids

Welcome to the fun part of Letaba Elephant Hall! You can discover some amazing elephant facts, play games or print some pictures to colour in. Enjoy!

What do you want to do? Click on one of the options below to:


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For Schools/Educators

Local school groups may gain free day access to the park if they attend an educational programme at Letaba's Elephant Hall. Bookings are taken for every day of the week except Sundays. Numbers are strictly limited during school holidays.

Programmes can be tailored to the needs of your school and can be offered in Afrikaans, English and Tsonga. Other languages may be available on request.

You will need to organise your own transport to Letaba and provide your own refreshments. We do not have an overnight facility for school groups. If you wish to stay overnight you must make arrangements to book standard tourist accommodation.

We allow up to 120 learners and 6 accompanying adults to attend for free. Any additional visitors will each need to pay the standard conservation fee at the entry gate

Please book well in advance:

Before calling, please make sure you have the following information available:

Educational Resources:

 

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Elephant-related websites

If you are interested in finding out more about elephant research and conservation, the ivory trade or the Magnificent Seven, you may find the following websites useful starting points.

SANParks does not explicitly endorse the work of any of these organizations and takes no responsibility for the quality of content found on these sites.

Elephant Research & Conservation

The Ivory Trade

Magnificent Seven

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Recommended Reading

This is a small selection of elephant-related publications.

It does not claim to be comprehensive and the views expressed are not representative of the Kruger National Park as a whole. If you would like to send us a book for review, please contact us. We cannot guarantee that it will end up on this site, but it will certainly become an appreciated part of our staff's educational library.

KNP Elephant Management Plan

Download the Kruger National Park Elephant Management Plan.

Head and Heartaches

The Elephant Management Dilemma

I.J. Whyte, Senior Scientist, Kruger National Park.

Published as:
WHYTE, I.J. (2001).  Headaches and Heartaches - the elephant management dilemma. In: Environmental Ethics: Introductory readings.  Eds. Schmidtz, D & Willot, E.  pp293-305.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Magnificent Seven

Bosman/Hall-Martin: The Magnificent Seven and the other great tuskers of the Kruger National Park, Human & Rousseau, Cape Town, 1994

A beautifully illustrated guide to Kruger's greatest tuskers. Written by the park's Senior Scientist at the time, the text is accompanied by Paul Bosman's world famous paintings and many of his preliminary sketches. Each elephant is introduced and described along with anecdotes of the author and artist's attempts to track them. Short interludes describe related topics such as the annual aerial census of Kruger's elephants or the plants and terrain that these tuskers prefer.

This is a well-constructed and attractive package that describes the great tuskers' temperaments and elephant biology, behaviour and management in general.

African Elephants and the Magnificent Seven, Letaba Elephant Hall, 2005

Please note:

The Magnificent Seven booklet is being reprinted. It will be available as from May 2014. For more information contact kirsty.redman@sanparks.org

Available from the Letaba Elephant Hall, this short booklet describes the biology and behaviour of elephants as well as show-casing the stories of each of the Magnificent Seven. All proceeds are donated to the Kruger National Park.

Elephants in general

Douglas-Hamilton/Douglas-Hamilton: Among the elephants, Collins, London, 1975

A fast-paced account of Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton's time at Lake Manyara in Tanzania. As the first scientist to study elephant social groups in depth, Douglas-Hamilton advanced our understanding of these animals greatly. He and his wife share their love of the world's largest land mammals with readers while recounting the adventures they had while studying them.

A thrilling insight into a field-scientist's life. The discussions concerning elephant management are as topical today as when this was written thirty years ago.

Leakey: Wildlife Wars, Macmillan, London, 2002

A memoir of Richard Leakey's involvement in Kenya's efforts to protect its elephants. This is a fascinating insight into the political realities of nature conservation, and a saddening summary of the organized illegal ivory trade in the 1980s.

Meredith: The African Elephant – A biography, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 2000

An excellent 'elephant primer', covering the history of elephants from 2000BC to the present day. Written in a gentle, accessible style, Meredith guides the reader through key scientific breakthroughs as well as discussing the cultural significance of elephants. Highly recommended.

Moss: Elephant Memories – Thirteen years in the life of an elephant family, Collins 1988

Cynthia Moss introduces us to the elephant families she has know for many years. Mixing semi-fictionalised accounts of elephant behaviour with descriptions of her research work, we gain unrivalled insight into elephant society at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

Thornton/Currey: To Save an Elephant – The undercover investigation into the illegal ivory trade, Transworld 1991

The almost unbelieveable tale of two men's mission to bring the reality of the 1980's illegal ivory trade to the world's attention. The exploits of Thornton and Currey's Environmental Investigation Agency read like a James Bond novel; exotic locations, assumed identities, global business intrigue and undeniable risks. A rip-roaring good read with a happy ending.

Mammals in general

Apps: Smithers' Mammals of Southern Africa. A Field Guide, Struik, Cape Town, 2000

Highly informative field guide, providing information on habitat, diet, life history, behaviour and conservation. Includes location maps, tracks and field signs. Descriptions are supported by data from a range of national parks, including Kruger.

Estes: Behaviour Guide to African Mammals, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1991

An in-depth reference on animal behaviour which pulls together a vast range of research in an accessible way. Summarizing physical traits, distribution and ecology, each entry includes extensive descriptions of social organization, communication, reproduction and behaviours. Thoroughly referenced for further study.


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