The Tale of the Tusk...

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Unread post by KNP Spokesman »

Hi Everyone

I have eventually received this information about Duke's tusk. According to our official records:

Weight: 37.05 kg
Length: 175 cm
Circumference: 49cm
CITES number: ZA.177.07.37.05

I hope you find that interesting. It is much lighter than we originally thought and a shade shorter, but it is still pretty big for a "piece" of a tusk.

Kind regards
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bucky
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Unread post by bucky »

Check out the weg/go and also wegbreek mags for more stories , this is making some big news , and rightly so -
thanks to KNPSman for pushing the story in the media !!

Just as a matter of interest , what did mashagadzi's tusks weigh in at Image

I always fancied Mashagadzi was underrated in the size department , much to mapoisa Matts disgust lol .
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Unread post by Jose »

Cool!! 8) Messenger boy sent shopping. :lol:

Did you ever pick up the KPTs? :?
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Unread post by bucky »

Not yet Jose , sorry !!!
My wife killed her car , so she is using mine at the moment (Hopefully hers comes back soon before she kills mine also lol) .

Ill get there asap , as I want that to go with the other articles etc in a nice frame as a keepsake :D
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Unread post by DuQues »

Just for info: The tusk is still in Skukuza. We went to Elephant Hall in the hope of seeing it, but alas...
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Unread post by alf »

Can anybody tell me when last they saw Duke and at what location?
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Unread post by bcmrrabie »

Hi everyone! This is my 1st post ever, but am a regular viewer of the cam from grizzly Gauteng!Iabsolutely LOVE the KNP-we're lucky enough to get there every August for a week. This year we'll be at Talamati for 2 nights(CANT wait!) and 4 nights at Skukuza.
Just wanted to know whether anyone has seen Duke recently? I do hope he's still alive and doing ok?
I followed that story of his lost tusk so closely last year.So sad.
Any good hints for the Talamati /Orpen/Satara area?
We usually do the Croc Bridge area up to Lower Sabie and up to Skukuza.Have had sightings of 3 Cheetahs together, for 3 years in a row-it was unbelievable! Always been so lucky, and had amazing experiences.
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Unread post by wildtuinman »

Hi and welcome bcmrrabie!

Duke is still alive and doing well, although he is in the final stretch of his life now and I would be surprised if he sees the next soccer world cup.

He is a magnificent animal and very gentle of nature.

Unfortunately you won't have any luck in spotting him in the Talamati /Orpen/Satara areas. He is pretty much roaming and seen quite regularly in the vicinity of the S28 just south of Lower Sabie.

Your best bet would to go look for him in that general area.

Regards.
Last edited by wildtuinman on Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post by bcmrrabie »

Thanks for your reply. We've been fortunate enough to have seen him twice before-his size is just awesome, he seemed too big to be real! We spotted him near Mlondozi.
What i meant by hints for the Talamati area was in terms of game viewing in that area specifically. We haven't been to that area for at least 12 years-always seem to love that Lower Sabie area.
Thanks for all your info.
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Unread post by Hazzard »

It is my understanding that Elephants favor 1 tusk over the other. Much like a human favors 1 hand over the other resulting in a right or left handed person.

Perhaps Duke he favored that tusk over the other and it broke off as a result. Not sure how this can happen but anything is possible.
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Unread post by Jose »

Hazzard wrote:It is my understanding that Elephants favor 1 tusk over the other. Much like a human favors 1 hand over the other resulting in a right or left handed person.

Perhaps Duke he favored that tusk over the other and it broke off as a result. Not sure how this can happen but anything is possible.

Correct. Elephants - like humans - can be left- or right-tusked (= handed).
Interesting point - and unlike humans - is that there is a more or less equal 50/50 spread between left and right "handed" elephants. Speaking in general the shorter and blunter tusk is the "slave" (or "working" ) tusk and is used for most activities. The other - usually longer and sharper - is called the "master" tusk.

In the case of Duke, both tusks were (or at least appeared) to be more or less the same length. The damage at the tip of the left tusk, which had been there long before it broke off, would indicate that Duke's left tusk was indeed the "slave". And then there's of course the fact that he broke it when trying to uproot a baby-leadwood. No self-respecting ellie would use his "master" tusk for that! :wink:
Don't you just love them tuskers? 8)
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Re: The Tale of the Tusk...

Unread post by wildtuinman »

This sighting will always remain one of my most treasured ones......

Monday 20th of August, 2007, Matt and Wildtuinman drove out onto the S28 to go look for Duke. After we've spend some time at the Ntandanyati hide we edged back to the S28. Matt gave Wildtuinman the choice of turning left or right back onto the S28.

After some quibble and a serious game of ching chong cha we landed up turning right. Which had a significant outcome to this whole story.

After a few minutes we started getting bored and Wildtuinman in his true joking spirit asked Matt if he wanted to see Duke.

He then pointed out into the field, and there asif Murphy's law was waiting to happen, an elephant popped out of nowhere!

We laughed and joked about this and although making it out as a strange phenomenon the strange feeling of unknown description made us scan the elephant with our bins. It wasn't Duke thou.

We scanned a second trailing elephant. Also... that one had short tusks.

Then a third elphant appeared, half leaning against a tree. With new Bushnell bins pointed in that direction we held our breath...

It was him... the old boy!!! The two white tusks flashing clear and brilliantly in the African sun.

What was even more weird was that we had cell reception. We phoned Bucky and left numerous voicemail messages as he was on his way to Lower Sabie from Balule. Two hours later we got hold of him. Duke has not moved much and Bucky was on his way after dropping of the caravan to come have a look.

The man's face was priceless as he parked his red bus next to us. His being in the Park for more then a week has sharpened his view and he saw Duke without any difficulty.

We took photos, we viewed him thru the bins and around 16:00 we headed back to Lower Sabie. We got the caravan pitched and decided to head out to spend a few more minutes with Duke.

We found him easily. He had hardly moved from his last position an hour before.

We once more took pics and then the most unthinkable thing happened. Bucky pointed out that we were no longer looking at Duke. Wildtuinman scanned the elephant via the bins and noted that the left tusk was indeed not Duke's tusk.

A brief discussion followed and after a series of photos were taken and followed by further scanning thru the bins, it was decided that Duke must have lost his left tusk.

Doubt, disbelief and sadness fell over us all. But the pictures shed no doubt. Duke was without his left tusk. It had broken off in the hour we were away from him that afternoon.

As the fiery-necked nightjar sang it's somewhat sad song that night we sat around our campfire, absolutely devasted by this loss. A rough night would soon follow for all of us. One with little sleep and many questions.

Why did we turn right?
Why did we joke about the fluke sighting?
Why did we leave him?
Why was it left to members of the original duke pack to see these events unfold ?

More people saw him today. Duke's left tusk is history.


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Unread post by wildtuinman »

wildtuinman wrote:Apparently at his age the tusks become brittle, which is a sign that he is busy leaving us.
.
.
.
although he is in the final stretch of his life now and I would be surprised if he sees the next soccer world cup.


I predicted this in 2007. He surprised me and kept going for a year longer than what I had anticipated.

Thanks Duke for the amazing sighting you gave us. I will always remember you.
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Re: The Tale of the Tusk...

Unread post by wildtuinman »

This sighting will always remain one of my most treasured ones......

Monday 20th of August, 2007, Matt and Wildtuinman drove out onto the S28 to go look for Duke. After we've spend some time at the Ntandanyati hide we edged back to the S28. Matt gave Wildtuinman the choice of turning left or right back onto the S28.

After some quibble and a serious game of ching chong cha we landed up turning right. Which had a significant outcome to this whole story.

After a few minutes we started getting bored and Wildtuinman in his true joking spirit asked Matt if he wanted to see Duke.

He then pointed out into the field, and there asif Murphy's law was waiting to happen, an elephant popped out of nowhere!

We laughed and joked about this and although making it out as a strange phenomenon the strange feeling of unknown description made us scan the elephant with our bins. It wasn't Duke thou.

We scanned a second trailing elephant. Also... that one had short tusks.

Then a third elphant appeared, half leaning against a tree. With new Bushnell bins pointed in that direction we held our breath...

It was him... the old boy!!! The two white tusks flashing clear and brilliantly in the African sun.

What was even more weird was that we had cell reception. We phoned Bucky and left numerous voicemail messages as he was on his way to Lower Sabie from Balule. Two hours later we got hold of him. Duke has not moved much and Bucky was on his way after dropping of the caravan to come have a look.

The man's face was priceless as he parked his red bus next to us. His being in the Park for more then a week has sharpened his view and he saw Duke without any difficulty.

We took photos, we viewed him thru the bins and around 16:00 we headed back to Lower Sabie. We got the caravan pitched and decided to head out to spend a few more minutes with Duke.

We found him easily. He had hardly moved from his last position an hour before.

We once more took pics and then the most unthinkable thing happened. Bucky pointed out that we were no longer looking at Duke. Wildtuinman scanned the elephant via the bins and noted that the left tusk was indeed not Duke's tusk.

A brief discussion followed and after a series of photos were taken and followed by further scanning thru the bins, it was decided that Duke must have lost his left tusk.

Doubt, disbelief and sadness fell over us all. But the pictures shed no doubt. Duke was without his left tusk. It had broken off in the hour we were away from him that afternoon.

As the fiery-necked nightjar sang it's somewhat sad song that night we sat around our campfire, absolutely devasted by this loss. A rough night would soon follow for all of us. One with little sleep and many questions.

Why did we turn right?
Why did we joke about the fluke sighting?
Why did we leave him?
Why was it left to members of the original duke pack to see these events unfold ?

More people saw him today. Duke's left tusk is history.


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bucky
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Re: The Tale of the Tusk...

Unread post by bucky »

This certainley brings back a couple of memorys WTM :D .

You guys wouldn't believe it, but we went looking for the old guy(Fam never saw him) on the S28 on the 1st Oct, as I was at croc bridge with the family last friday and saturday.
I wonder when last he was seen alive
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