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Media Release: KNP Tusker Programme Gets Bigger

27 March 2006

Visitors to the Kruger National Park (KNP) now stand to win prizes of elephantine proportions, including a field trip with researchers, if they enter the Emerging Tusker Project Photographic Competition.

History tells us that the original large tuskers of the KNP consisted of seven elephants, which roamed the Park for years, each of which with incredibly large tusks. They were all elevated to almost mythical status by KNP rangers and visitors of yesteryear. The impressive ivory of six of these legendary elephants can now be viewed at the recently revamped Elephant Hall at Letaba Main Camp in the KNP.

It stands to reason that the genes, which created these Magnificent Seven elephants, are still in the present KNP elephant population and a research project was registered in 2005 to find the present crop of large tuskers.

At least 42 elephants with large tusks have been identified and these are being constantly monitored. It is this process of monitoring and the possibility of identifying even more elephants that has lead to the KNP’s Emerging Tuskers Competition.

Visitors to the KNP are therefore urged to keep their cameras, video cameras and digital cameras ready when they enter the Park and, if they are lucky enough to see an elephant with really large tusks, they should take as many images as possible and enter them into the competition. It is vital that the images - which should be high quality - record details like ear notches and the exact shape and size of the tusks.

Together with an entrance form, which is either available at the camp or gate reception or on the SANParks Website (, these photographic or video entries should then be sent to the Emerging Tuskers Competition, Letaba Elephant Hall, Kruger National Park, Private Bag X402, Skukuza 1350 or to a special email address that has been created especially for the competition - - for judging.

First prize includes an experience of a lifetime where the winner will accompany the KNP’s elephant researcher in a helicopter to dart and collar one of the KNP’s 12 500 elephants (including accommodation). The second prize is a weekend for four people at Letaba and the third prize is a night’s accommodation for five people at either Sable Dam or Shipandani sleepover hides. All prizes exclude meals and daily conservation fees.

The competition will run annually until further notice and all entries should be received by December 31 of each year. That year’s winner will be announced by March 1 of the following year.

Competition entry forms are available at camp receptions or via the Internet ( First, second and third prizes will be awarded every year.

At present the largest tusker in the Kruger National Park, Duke’s tusks are at least the equals of many of the original Magnificent Seven. The Emerging Tusker Competition has as an aim to find out whether there are any more like Duke in the Kruger National Park.

Issued by:
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or email:

William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communications, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email:

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