Past Tusker - Nkombo

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Past Tusker - Nkombo

Unread post by RosemaryH »

Past Tusker - Nkombo

RogertheDodger SANParks Forum Nkombo  seen Sep 2017 IMG_4263 - Copy.JPG
Photo by Forum Member RogertheDodger

Origin of Name: was named by the “Elephants Alive” (formerly Save the Elephants) at the time of his collaring in the Timbavati on the 7th December 2006.
Range: This bulls range has adapted over the years, and is initial movements between the Timbavati and the Satara area started expanding towards Letaba and eventually Shingwedzi. He was known to move between The Timbavati and Shingwedzi for a number of years, after which his range reduce to between Letaba and Shingwedzi and later he predominated in the Shingwedzi area.
Special Features: This bull had long straight ivory with a slight curve inwards towards the bottom of the ivory similar to that of João and the newly named Mondzweni (2020). His lower ear lobes were fairly clean with the more notable notches being higher up. On the left lobe a large R5 sized hole could be seen as the rear of the upper fold, this was only visible from a rear or side position. In July 2017 a round wound in the right mid ear lobe was observed approximately 15cm inwards from the lobe line, this healed into a hole which was often covered in mud so not always visible. Nkombo’s left ear lobe had the most notable holes at the top of the lobe and around the fold, three holes varied in size from larger than a R5 coin to around a R1 sized coin. Below these is a wide shallow uneven u-shaped notch and further down towards the left mid lob a very small u-shape nick that was usually only visible in high resolution or when his ears were open on full display.
General: Nkombo was collared on the 7th December 2006, his first sighting in the Kruger National Park was around the same time by Jannie Nel in the Satara area. He was not reported again until a sighting at Letaba in 2011 by Schalk Vorster. At this time Nkombo was known mainly for being collared and he was not considered a large tusker. His collarstopped working in mid-2009 but due to the visibility of the collar sightings continued and were communicated to Dr Michelle Henley of Elephants Alive for his monitoring. Between 2011 and 2013 Nkombo’s ivory started developing and he was being noticed for his ivory as well as his collar. In late 2013 Nkombo seemingly decided he did not want the burden of the collar anymore and it dropped off, the collar itself was recovered and handed to the rangers in April 2014. Fortunately by this time Nkombo had entered the realm of a large tusker ensuring sightings of him did not decreased. He localized to Shingwedzi no longer visiting the Timbavati and only on rare occasions coming south to Letaba. Given his range change and his status it was felt he should be included in the Kruger National Park large tuskers.

Sightings of Nkombo decreased dramatically in late 2018 and we virtually no existent in 2019. Without the discovery of a carcass confirming his status was difficult. In September 2020 a set of large ivory was discovered in a remote section of Mooiplaas Ranger Section. Due to the advanced decomposition of the carcass leaving no identification indicators and the ivory being discovered having a break in the right tusk it was not initially tied to Nkombo. Through photographic evidence of the ivory and sightings focusing of the ivory markers the ivory was eventually confirmed as that belonging to Nkombo and his death could be confirmed.

Due to the break showing little remodeling his death is thought to have been caused by injuries sustained in a bull fight. Unfortunately though due to lack of carcass evidence this cannot be confirmed. Based on his lover jaw his age is estimated at 48 years of age at time of death.

Nkombo Tusk Data.JPG
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Karin Mitton
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Re: Past Tusker - Nkombo

Unread post by Karin Mitton »

He lived a long life - hopefully his genes are running strong through the elephant population!
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