The number of female tuskers thus far recorded is two, that of MaMerle and Matrix.
Origin of Name: Named in recognition of Merle Whyte, wife of retired large mammal scientist Dr Ian Whyte who also has an extended family living in Kruger and the associated private nature reserves.
Range: Tshokwane/Skukuza area
Special Features: Average length tusks, fairly thin, both tusks have been broken and have lost their curved tips. She has a medium sized square shaped notch in her right ear towards the top of the ear lobe. Deep medium sized square notch in the middle to lower area of the left ear lobe, and a notable v-shaped notch in the middle of the ear lobe as well as several small v-shaped notches on the same lobe. The right ear lobe as a prominent v-shaped notch at the top of the lobe and several smaller v-shaped notches lower down on the same lobe.
General: This beautiful elephant cow is thought to be the biggest female tusker in Kruger. She was first seen and photographed near the Sabie River high-water bridge 14th August 2004. She was also photographed during the 2004 elephant census from the helicopter. She appears to have twins of about 3-4 years old as they were with her on both occasions. MaMerle has also made the history books by being photographed with a second set of twins recently (Oct 2007) which are though to also be hers.
Merle ‘MaMerle’ Whyte: Merle Whyte (née Retief) is married to retired Large Mammal Scientist Dr Ian Whyte, they have two children, Lorna (30) who is married to Section Ranger Steven Whitfield and who currently resides in the Tshokwane section of the Kruger National Park and Neil (29), who followed in his father’s footsteps in the conservation industry. Until recently Merle and Ian resided in Skukuza, after Ian’s retirement they relocated to Graskop, where Merle still has daily contact with the Kruger National Park through her travel and tourism company Mpumalanga Promotions. She currently has five grand children.
Photo by Steven Whitfield/Matthew Durrel
Origin of Name: Named in recognition of Trix Olivier, wife of Regional Ranger Louis Olivier who has supported her husband in his professional and private capacity for 31years.
Special Features: MaTrix’s left tusk is considerably longer then the right tusk, reasonably thick ivory for a female tusker.
General: This female has been sighted on numerous occasions. The first recording of her was by Steven Whitfield, section ranger at Tshokwane from the Bantam light winged airplane in 2007. Upon further investigation several entries were also received in the 2006 and 2007 Emerging Tuskers Competition and the female tusker had be marked to be kept track of. Given Steven’s positive sighting of her it was decided to accelerate the naming process. MaTrix was named in 2007 after a motivation was submitted by Kirsty Redman.