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Past Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

kobra592@msn.com
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Re: SANParks Elephants

Unread post by kobra592@msn.com » Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:47 pm

Image

The lady at the Letaba Elephant Centre told us there was a bull roaming around Letaba. We were lucky, the same afternoon we saw this big one in the Letaba area november 2015. I didn't get the name. Anyone?

Edit, after browsing the tuskers on this site I think it is Masthulele.

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RosemaryH
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Re: Current Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

Unread post by RosemaryH » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:51 pm

A response/update from the SANParks tusker team regarding Masthulele.

“In response to concerns raised regarding Masthulele, we can confirm the following, the last positively identified sighting of him was in early January 2016 close to the Kingfisherspruit section of the KNP. At this time the wound on his back had healed well and while he was not in peak condition he was healthy. Unfortunately there have been no confirmed sightings since then and he did not return to the north in the summer as in previous years. Several hopeful sightings have been submitted since then, sadly none of these have been of Masthulele.

The recent drought has played a toll on many older elephants and he would have been at risk during this period due to his advanced age. We are checking regularly with the rangers of the sections in which he was known to frequent and to date no carcass that can be positively identified as Masthulele has been found. It would be irresponsible to make presumptions without evidence so while there will be suspicions until such time as a carcass is found we cannot confirm his death based on the lack of sightings. Please keep in mind tuskers have been known to change ranges in response to environmental factors before. Tsotsi was not seen for a period of 5 years before he re-surfaced in the Northern Region recently.

We are trying to stay positive and as previously indicated we will definitely update the public as soon as we have any confirmed information regarding his status.”


Thanks for the response SANParks :thumbs_up:

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Re: Current Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

Unread post by Elsa » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:40 pm

Sad news as reported by Lesley Nyawo

RIP

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK’S TUSKER MASTHULELE DECEASES

It is with deep sympathy that we announce the unfortunate passing on of Masthulele, meaning ‘the quiet one’; Masthulele passes on at an estimated age of 49 and 50 years.

This bulls name was very appropriate as he lived up to the ‘quiet one’ reputation by being seldom seen, he had only been photographed twice at the time of naming. The first two series of photographs of this bull were both taken from a helicopter during the elephant censuses in 2003 and 2004.

A fight at the beginning of 2008 left him with open wounds on his trunk none of which were life threatening, these have subsequently healed and as a result, Masthulele had notable scarring on his nose which was an aid in his identification.
In the early months of 2015, Masthulele received an injury on his back close to his spine from a bull fight. Despite concerns given his age and general health he recovered well and the wound area healed completely.

In January 2016 with the last confirmed sighting of Masthulele was in the Kingfisherspruit section of the Kruger National Park during his annual pilgrimage to the Timbavati. Efforts by rangers and guests to sight this magnificent bull were ongoing but he remained unseen, a carcass had not been discovered; we hoped that he was still with us.

A carcass found in late 2016 in the Letaba section between Giriyondo and Letaba raised suspicions that perhaps Masthulele had been found as this was his regular stomping ground in autumn and spring. Given the decomposition level of the carcass, a positive ID could not be made at the time.

Images of the ivory were taken and unfortunately, no definitive answer could be given as the presence of a break under the left tusk and a short grass notch raised doubt this was Masthulele as neither of these features were visible in the footage of him on file.

An impressive weight and length of the ivory was received from Ivory stores for this ivory which kept suspicions active it could be him; With Masthulele still not being sighted in early 2017 and additional high-resolution images being received of later sightings that showed a subtle change in his ivory towards his final sighting, the decision was taken to arrange a security visit to the Ivory stores with numerous high resolution images taken from different angles to assess if characteristic markings could be found. It is due to security reason this visit could only be arranged for August 2017.

The Kingfisherspruit Section Ranger, who has excellent knowledge on elephants and ivory who knew Masthulele well was accompanied by the Emerging Tuskers Project Coordinator to assist in the process; with access to the Ivory close up and being able to look at all angles sadly several key markers were clearly visible on both tusks when examined and it was agreed by all parties the ivory belonged to Masthulele.

In consultation with Dr. Ian Whyte (retired large mammal scientist) whom Masthulele shared a name with, the lower jaw was examined and a discrepancy in tooth height was noted as well as that his teeth were still in fair condition, this coupled with the last images of him in reasonable health it is felt that nutrition was not a factor in his death. The carcass site was investigated by the Letaba Section Ranger and no foul play is suspected. It is felt the likely cause of death was a bull fight.

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Re: Current Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

Unread post by Crested Val » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:04 pm

Sad news indeed Elsa, and thank you for putting Lesley's post here for us all to see. :gflower:

I had the privilege of seeing him several times, though never lucky enough to get a good photo. :cry:

He was indeed a magnificent boy.

RIP old fella!!! :k
I long each day for my beloved Kruger!!!! :thumbs_up:

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Re: Current Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:10 pm

Read about it on Facebook - really sad.

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Re: Current Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

Unread post by barryels » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:22 pm

This is really sad news :( .

RIP "quiet one".
Always be humble and understanding.

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Re: Current Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

Unread post by RosemaryH » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:29 pm

Too sad :(

TUSK DATA:
Left
Length (cm) 234cm
Mass (kg) 51kg
Circumference at Lip (cm) 49.5cm
Right
Length (cm) 245cm
Mass (kg) 54kg
Circumference at Lip (cm) 49.5cm

Masthulele

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Re: Past Tusker - Masthulele (Tihongongene)

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:15 am

Rest in peace, great one.

:cry:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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