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Kruger National Park
Unsure of Status/Presumed Dead
There are many Tuskers that have been either identifed as presumed dead as we are unsure of their current status.
Scroll down to see and read about each of these great animals, or click on a name below to jump straight to that individual.
Origin of Name: Named for the Borehole 5km south-east of Vlakteplaas on the banks of the Dungile Spruit and was the name of a former inhabitant of the area.
Range: Vlakteplaas, Babalala Waterhole.
Special Features: Prominent v-shaped tear in his left earlobe, with several square shaped notches further down the earlobe. A smaller v-shaped notch on the right ear lobe towards the bottom of the lobe is less prominent but is still visible. His right tusk appears to have been broken at some stage and is considerably shorter then the left tusk.
General: Photographed for the first time by Dewald Keet, state vet department.
Origin of Name: Named after the Bakoor Windmill which in turn was named after the Bat-eared Fox which was recorded in the area. Although common elsewhere, the Bat-eared Fox is a very rare animal in Kruger National Park.
Range: South of Shingwedzi.
Special Features: Both tusks diverging, right tusk extending slightly longer then the left.
General: First photographed by researcher Keith Begg in 1993.
Origin of Name: Named for his unique curved tusk (Gombanyokile is a Tsonga word meaning ‘something that is not straight’ or is deformed. A crooked road can be described as ‘gombanyokile’, as could a crooked tusk or deformed leg).
Range: He can be found in Letaba area close to the rest camp, although he seems to have relocated himself towards the Mopani area of late.
Special Features: This elephant is not a particularly big tusker, but was named due to his unique tusk growth. This bulls left tusk has developed at a virtual right angle to the bulls trunk and face making him very unique in the elephant world.
General: Last seen in 2003.
Origin of Name: Name after the koppie situated 5km east of Punda Maria. (Gumbandebvu, Venda word meaning ‘to shave one’s beard’).
Range: Punda Maria.
Special Features: Very ragged generally torn outer edges to the ear lobes. Inward curving tusks.
Origin of Name: Named for the tributary of the Shisha Spruit, 23km north east of Punda Maria. (Hlamalala is a Tsonga word for the southern stripe bellied grass or sand snake).
Special Features: Old bull with very upwards curved thin tusks.
General: Photographed by researcher Keith Begg.
Origin of Name: Named for Hector MacDonald, ranger Crocodile Bridge 1928 - 1951.
Range: Crocodile Bridge.
Special Features: Substantial ivory, similar in size and shape to Duke before the break.
General: Mac is almost a mythical elephant because he has so seldom been seen. He was photographed once from the helicopter, but has not been seen since. He may therefore have died without his carcass or tusks having been located.
Hector MacDonald: Hector McDonald hailed from Dundee, Scotland, began his career in the British Navy. He then served throughout the First World War with the armed forces in “German East Africa” ending as a lieutenant with a Highland battalion on the Western Front. After the war he turned to hotel management, but acted as an honorary escort to a Mr Selby who visited the Park for photographic purposes. He joined the Ranger’s staff in KNP in 1929 and retired in 1951 with all of his service (23 years) having been conducted at the Crocodile Bridge Ranger’s post. “South African Eden”, J Stevenson-Hamilton (1937).
Origin of Name: Named for the tributary of the Letaba River 9km west of Letaba Restcamp. (Tsonga word meaning ‘a passer by’).
Range: South of Letaba Restcamp to as far north as Mooiplaas.
Special Features: Symmetrical tusks which curved upwards. A notable inverted V shaped notch in the bottom of the left ear.
General: First seen by Johan Marais in December 1996.
Origin of Name: This bull shares its name with the waterhole 2,5km east of the Shingwedzi River, which is covered by the waters in the Kanniedood Dam (Origin of the name unknown - was probably the name of a former inhabitant of the area.).
Range: East of Shingwedzi.
Special Features: Only one straight tusk. There is a prominent hole in the left ear lobe towards the middle of the lobe.
Origin of Name: Named for the Metsi-metsi Spruit, a tributary of the Nwaswitsontso River and for the trails area of this name in which he was first sighted.
Range: Tshokwane/Metsi Metsi area.
Special Features: One tusk (right).
General: This one-tusked bull was also seen and photographed from the helicopter for the first time close to the Metsi-metsi Trails Camp in September 2004 during the elephant census.
Origin of Name: This bull derives his name from the Mluwati tributary of the Nwaswitsontso River, 21,5km south east of Kingfisherspruit. (Mluwati is the Tsonga name for ‘flame thorn’ Acacia ataxacantha).
Range: Ngwenyene Dam.
Special Features: Fairly symmetrical ivory, curved upwards. Prominent square shaped notch in right ear at the top of the ear lobe.
Origin of Name: This bull was named Mungana as he was the constant companion of the well know tusker Shilowa. (Mungana is the Tsonga word meaning ‘friend’).
Special Features: Wide but shallow v-shaped notch in the left ear at the top of the ear lobe.
General: This bull was often seen in the company of Shilowa.
Origin of Name: A large tributary of the Sand River near Skukuza. Tsonga pronunciation of a Sotho word “motla-o-mobe” meaning “dangerous when it comes down in flood”.
Range: Timbetene area of the Tshokwane Section.
Special Features: His ears were generally rather undamaged, but he had a small semi-circular nick in his right ear.
General: This is another youngish bull that seems to have potential as a future tusker. He was seen and photographed from the helicopter during the 2004 elephant census, but has not been recorded since.
Origin of Name: Named after the dam and waterhole in this area (Tsonga word meaning ‘at the place of the crocodile’).
Special Features: One small square nick in his left ear. Tusks symmetrical and curved slightly forward.
General: First seen and photographed at the Ngwenyene drinking spot at the about 200 m east of the intersection of the S36 and S125 on 19/07/05. Only one photo on record.
Origin of Name: Unknown.
Special Features: Unknown.
***This elephant has also not been seen after he was photographed in the Satara area, and may therefore also have died. Needs to be renamed.***
Origin of Name: Named after the tributary of the Mlondozi. (Tsonga word meaning “at the wild animals”).
Range: Tshokwane/Lower Sabie area.
Special Features: Two equally frontward curving tusks.
General: This bull because of his size was thought at one stage to be the elusive ‘Mac’. This bull was photographed in Dec 1997 by Johan Marais near Mlondozi Dam. It is thought that if this elephant was still alive that he would be one of the prominent bulls in the area. In discussions with Markus Hofmeyer by Johan Marais it was determined that several large tuskers had been translocated out of the Kruger National Park by the game capture team from the Lower Sabie area, it is thought that this may be one of them.
Origin of Name: This is the Tsonga word meaning ‘lefty’ as this bull had one significant left tusk.
Special Features: Substantial left tusk. Shimatsi had a distinctive round swelling 50cm behind his left shoulder and an almost hairless tail end. Two shallow v-shaped tears in the left ear, one towards the bottom of the lobe and one further up on the ear.
General: Named by Johann Oelofse and his field rangers.
Origin of Name: Named in memory of James Chauke who served many years in the Kruger National Park. (Sikele meaning “The Sickle”, and this elephant’s skewed tusks are reminiscent of this tool used for cutting grass).
Range: West of the Klopperfontein windmill.
Special Features: Characteristic tusks, widely splayed with the right tusk curved more upwards then the left.
General: This characteristic tusker was seen and photographed during the elephant census of 2004.
Origin of Name: This bull has been named for the Tsendze spruit 26km north of Mooiplass this spruit is a tributary of the Letaba River. (derived from the Tsonga word tsendzeleka meaning ‘to wander about as a person lost in bush country’ – this is in reference to the many turns the river makes).
Range: Mooiplaas/Small Shawu area.
Special Features: Right tusk curved slightly higher then the left tusk.
Origin of Name: Tsumane shares his name with the tributary of the Shingwedzi River and the windmill around which he is often seen. (Tsonga word meaning ‘red ochre’).
Range: Dzombo east/Shingwedzi.
Special Features: Right tusk considerable more curved upwards then the left tusk.
General: First seen by Keith Begg, Nov 1993.