Media Release: KNP Elephant Competition Identifies 5 More Tuskers
Five more emerging tuskers have been identified thanks to the excellent quality of entries from the members of the public who took part in the 2007 Kruger National Park (KNP) Emerging Tuskers Competition from January to December last year.
The KNP Emerging Tuskers Competition is part of a research project aimed at finding, identifying and naming 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.
Barry Swart was judged the winner for 2007 for his contribution on the newly named tusker: Nwashinangana. This elephant bull roams between Lower Sabie and Tshokwane but he has been spotted as far away as Orpen Entrance Gate. Swart’s entry was judged the winner because it provided a valuable data base of the tusks themselves, as well as the ear markings and notches that are used for identification purposes.
Nwashinangana is named after Ted Whitfield, who was a ranger in the KNP from 1970 until 1994. Swart wins an opportunity to accompany KNP researchers on field research and two night’s accommodation at the camp closest to the area where this research is being conducted.
In second place was AJ de Wet’s entry of his contribution that has identified a newly named tusker called Ngunyupezi. This elephant can be seen in the Red Rocks area of the KNP, between Bateleur Bush Camp and Shingwedzi Rest Camp. De Wet’s entry provides the project with useful data on this little known bull.
Ngunyupezi is named after Field Ranger Sergeant James Maluleke, who worked in the park for many years until his eventual retirement in 1995. He passed away in 1996. De Wet wins two night’s accommodation for four people and a free guided activity of his choice.
Matthew Durell’s contribution of the newly named tusker Madolo came third. This tusker can be seen near Kruger Entrance Gate and Durell’s entry included many photographs that have provided elephant researchers with a comprehensive database of this bull.
Madolo is named in tribute of Johan Kloppers, who started his KNP career in 1953 as a section ranger and ended in 1991 as the head manager of Nature Conservation. Mr Durell wins a night’s accommodation at either Sable Dam or Shipandani Sleepover Hides for five people.
There were also prizes awarded to the fourth and fifth placed entries. Their prize for collective fourth place, the book “Great Tuskers of Southern Africa” by Johan Marais will be sent to Bev Clark, Sarel Grobler and Alan Caithness. SANParks corporate gear will be sent to the following people for their collective fifth prize: Ms Joan Trass, Ms Penny Legg, Mr Jonathan Heger, CA Ralph, Jacques Steenberg and Jenny Blocks.
Commended Certificates will also be sent to Stuart Basil, D Outram, Abri van Vollenhoven and Ala and Peter Burmeister for the considerable effort these entrants made with their entries.
Judges of the competition, who include Dr Ian Whyte (retired SANParks scientist), Nxanatseni Regional Ranger Mr Louis Olivier, Dr Johan Marais (author of the book Tuskers of Southern Africa), Mr Piet Andjelkovic (chairman of the bushveld region of the SANParks Honorary Rangers) and Ms Kirsty Redman (the competition co-ordinator), commented that although the 2007 competition attracted a similar amount of entries compared with the previous year, the quality of the entrants was a huge improvement.
Entrants to the competition have definitely developed a keener idea of what constitutes a ‘Big Tusker’ and only 20 entries were rejected before judging compared to the previous year where 44 entries were rejected before judging.
“We were also suitably impressed with the efforts that many of the entrants made with regard to the locations that the elephants were spotted and the fact that many new identification points were highlighted in the entries,” Ms Redman commented.
The entries are not judged on the photographic quality but rather on its contribution to the research project. Judging takes place once a year on those entries submitted during the previous calendar year. The major objective with the naming these magnificent bulls is to in some way acknowledge the contributions of those who have given a major portion of their lives to the service of conservation in general, and to Kruger in particular.
The 2008 Emerging Tusker Competition has already started and visitors to the park who see elephants with unusually large tusks are encouraged to enter their photographs and videos before December 31, 2008. More information about the competition, plus the rules and entry forms are available from the SANParks Website.
Entries plus all relevant information should be sent to either firstname.lastname@example.org or Emerging Tuskers Competition, Letaba Elephant Hall, Private Bag X402, Skukuza, 1350. Enquiries can be addressed to the Letaba Elephant Hall on +27 13 735 6664.
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communications, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919
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