SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Project

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PRWIN
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by PRWIN »

Just reading all above :wall: :wall: . Also it will be a bit diffecult to participate in any of the projects if you are not allowed to post a photo :hmz: due to a watermark/signature as discussed in http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=75&t=77167. maybe if a explanation can be given on what's allowed and what's not as asked also
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by kesheshe »

please can you also PM me the website.
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Re: Identification Help – Tuskers

Unread post by Sharifa »

IBmit wrote:
SANParks wrote:
arks wrote:Aat has spent years developing his Tuskers of Africa and it was my understanding that he had closely collaborated with various SANParks personnel in developing his wholly voluntary project. Is all his hard work to be thus devalued? :twisted:

Dear Arks,

You have been misguided and misinformed.

Best wishes,


Please explain!

Sorry, but I feel that SANParks have over stepped the boundary. I WILL continue to support aat, as I am sure most others will too.


If there was a proper explanation up front people would not have been misguided and misinformed

Having said that I will give SANParks the benfit of the doubt and wait for the explanation that is coming later today.
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by 100ponder »

I notice that the 2 other treads concerning this topic are removed - I mean like vanished !

Again a clandestine move from SANPARKS ?
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by 100ponder »

I have sent the below e-mail to Aat last night and is posting it here for every-one to see our sentiments
regarding the absolutely great work Aat is doing :-

Hi Aat,

SANPARKS are playing games which I don't think they themselves know where
they want to go.

I pledge unconditional support for you and your Tuskers website.

If SANPARKS are not going to back-off on their nonsense I will gladly
assist
to move this thread onto social media - but what you have started here is
not
going to be allowed to end just like this.

Keep on smiling,

Lettie and Gerrie.
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by DinkyBird »

100ponder wrote:I notice that the 2 other treads concerning this topic are removed - I mean like vanished !

Again a clandestine move from SANPARKS ?

Which two threads 100ponder?
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by stephan groen »

I think he is referring to the following:

Post subject: Sanparks new rules -- so sad...!

and

Post subject: Re: Identification Help – Tuskers

The latter being the "New Tusker Topic" we have been referred to to post our sightings and the Ellies will be identified. Now this topic is gone? So where do we post now?
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by DinkyBird »

The new Tusker ID topic is here still, just fell down the page. here

All posts regarding the media release and change in rules made in this forum have been merged into this single topic we are posting in now for easy reference and reading for all.
- Dalene
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by 100ponder »

Go to http://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/gallery/ for excellent wildlife photos.
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by PRWIN »

100 ponder I,m already there, Being there for years :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten »

Hi DinkyBird,

Firstly, thank you for replying re Astromat and the Kgalagadi leopard. Very glad to know that project is doing well!

Thank you also for replying re. the Tusker project and Aat. This second answer is indicative of the very problem I have been trying to highlight:

You said:
This has been a general plea to support SANParks' tusker projects. For eg, it is being jeopardised because photos are not being sent to them to add to their data base for eg. I was there and saw the surprise when it was realised how many photos that could be very useful to their data base were placed elsewhere on internet but not emailed to SANParks.
I am sure everyone will agree that SANParks have to protect their scientific research as much as possible and ensure it is done in a correct manner.


If I understand this correctly, Sanparks are upset that valuable info re. new tuskers is being side-lined to Aat's magnificent Tusker site, instead of going to Sanparks' dated, neglected site, to keep for proper scientific research.

The very point many of us are making, goes like this: What have "Sanparks' scientists on Tusker research" done over say, the past 5 years, on this forum, to inform the public on the latest developments re. Tuskers in Kruger?

The answer in a nutshell -- not very much!

If you look at the Mammals threads, you will notice that Big Tuskers got 165 969 replies -- more than 60 000 in excess of any other topic like lions, wild dogs etc. This should tell you that we love Big Tuskers!

But Sanparks couldn't have bothered to keep us updated, informed, inspired to add valuable scientific pictures, info on movements etc. to your stale/dead tusker sites.
So instead people voted for somebody else!
Imagine if Sanparks had had downloadable lists of every emerging/potential tusker in Kruger, divided according to location, available to forumites to enhance their Kruger visiting experience. But you did nothing.

To try and regain that lost ground should be done diplomatically, and by using the people like Aat, who have shown the greatest passion for tuskers, in fact more than shown by Sanparks officials on this forum. You are alienating many of your most ardent supporters and turning this into a lose-lose situation.

This has been a general plea to support SANParks' tusker projects
... Most of us understand a PLEA to be something gentle, caring, inclusive. That attitude would go a long way to restoring confidence in your scientific tusker work.

Thank you and God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten »

:D
PS to my previous post: Give credit where it is due!

In 2013 I visited Kruger Park twice, and was so inspired by your new little magazine. I don't even remember its name.
You hit the jackpot with that -- interesting, up-to-date news, news from parks seldom visited -- in fact, somebody should make that same info available to ALL your Sanparks fans around the world -- have it somewhere on the forum as a news item. We will love you for it! I brought 3 different copies home, and re-read them here at leisure...

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by Stark »

The very fact that SANParks neglected to keep the page links topical and working before making this announcement is cause for concern. This goes beyond the public sending pics and info elsewhere. What assurances we have that the neglect of the present is being replaced with due diligence and effort going forward?

About the "misguided and misinformed" response from Nedret. That was uncalled for. If your customer base is misguided and misinformed after your entity issued a release, the fault lies with your communications - NOT with your customers understanding. This is a perfect example of a problem that did t need to happen if it were managed and communicated effectively.
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by 100ponder »

Please cancel the "Emerging Tuskers" project - you, SANPARKS have just killed it yourselves. . . .

I have just found a new home where I can live-out my passion for GREAT TUSKERS - and I noticed that I am one of the late-comers, many other BIG TUSKER formites were already there.

So, Byeeeeeeeeee ! ! ! ! !

I will only be back from time to time to accentuate your quality of service.
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Re: SANParks calls for participation in Emerging Tuskers Pro

Unread post by DinkyBird »

Dear all
DinkyBird wrote:The moderators will reply later today. We will illustrate the reasoning behind the new rule.


When the implementation of the new rule was discussed, this is the information (in quote) we were supplied with by the Interpretive Officer who manages the Tusker project. And below are a couple of responses from the moderators to queries in this topic.
Emerging Tuskers Project:
This is a project that has captured the attention and interest of the public long before any formal proposal was submitted. The Kruger National Park is one of the few areas in Southern Africa where large tuskers can still be found. The tuskers of Kruger have been an attraction for visitors since the Magnificent 7 promotion was launched by Dr Tol Pienaar in 1980. Subsequent to the death of these magnificent elephants and the opening of the elephant hall which is now home to their ivory, the naming and identification of tuskers was carried out informally by then Large Mammal Scientist Dr Ian Whyte. At this time tuskers were named after locations where they were seen and general names of interest. Public interest in the project and submissions for identification continued to increase to a point where it was decided to formalize the project and have a team that could monitor these bulls and disseminate the information to the public.

The Emerging Tuskers Project was formally approved in May 2003 by the Conservation Management Committee as an ongoing project. The project was to be based at the Letaba Elephant Museum and administered by the museum staff. The supporting Emerging Tuskers competition was launched in 2006 and ran until 2009 when it was temporarily suspended. The project however continues.

The objectives of the project are: (where does the data go & why do we monitor them)
1. To identify and catalogue the current large and emerging tuskers of the Kruger National Park through photographic material submitted by staff and tourists and to maintain the resultant data base of these large bulls.
2. To gain an idea of these animals’ home ranges and distribution through sightings by staff and tourists.
3. To determine any trends that may emerging regarding home ranges and distribution from the monitoring process.
4. To make the information gained available to guests through the displays at the Elephant Museum at Letaba and on the SANParks website.

Points of importance: (from Dr Whytes project proposal)

• There is considerable public interest in these large tuskers. Many of the older ones have now died (Tshokwane, Mandleve, Mlondozi, Shilowa), but there is a new generation emerging which requires classification and documentation. Many enquiries are made for information on these animals.
• The information gained adds considerable interest to the displays in the Letaba Elephant Museum.
• For very little effort, this project will serve the interests of SANParks and its visitors

Conditions of project approval
The project is approved subject to acceptance of the following conditions by the researcher/s and all others associated with the project:
• That Dr I.J. Whyte acts as the South African National Parks (SANParks) contact person. All arrangement must be made through this person (this shifted to K.Redman upon Dr Whyte’s retirement)
• That the data and photographic material acquired in the KNP remain the intellectual property of SANParks, and be used only for the purposes outlined in this proposal, and to meet the stated objectives
• That any contact with the media be made only after discussion with the SANParks contact person
• That in any publication resulting from the project, the South African National Parks be specifically acknowledged
• That a copy of any or all publications, reports or theses emanating from the work be made available to the Stevenson-Hamilton Library at Skukuza and to the Elephant Museum at Letaba
• That during the duration of the project, (field data collection, analysis or write-up phases), the researcher/s will submit annual reports of progress. Reminders will be sent to the researchers at the time that such reports are due)
• That the South African National Parks reserves the right to terminate the project it is considered that sufficient evidence of progress is not provided, or if any of the above conditions are not complied with.

Naming:
In line with the approved proposal by Dr Ian Whyte it was decided to raise the value of the naming process and to give it more purpose. In line with this the decision was made and approved that emerging and large tuskers will be named in recognition of deceased or retired colleagues who have devoted their careers through loyal service etc. to the advancement of the KNP/SANParks and conservation, this is not limited to conservation services, but can include people from research, technical services etc. The final decision on who will qualify to have a tusker named after them is decided by the project coordinator in consultation with the relevant colleagues who assist with the project as part of the committee.

It is considered an immense honor by the selected staff members who have the privilege of having a tusker named after them recognizing their contribution to conservation. This is not a decision entered into lightly and has a consultation process before this will be confirmed. Staff can nominate colleagues they feel worthy of this honor and these are taken into consideration when a tusker is in need of naming. The quality of the tusker to be named should therefore be reflective of this honor. Where possible regions of operation are matched to the known home range of these bulls as well.

The Emerging Tuskers are an elite group of elephant bulls and not every elephant will be considered for naming, it is not the quantity of bulls that are important to be named but the quality of the bulls that receive this honor that is important. To ensure the exclusivity and prominence of these bulls the decision to name is governed by distinct criteria. Many elephant bulls in the Kruger National Park are notable but few will qualify to be named an essential process to maintain the unique and exclusive nature of the project.

There are many considerations that must be taken into account before an emerging tusker can be named. Primarily the criteria are as follows:
• The tusks must extend between 1m – 1.5m from the lip line. (The apparent weight of the ivory is also factored into the process.)
• The elephant must have the potential to develop from an emerging tusker into a Great Tuskers of the KNP, for this the estimated age of the elephant is essential, younger bulls who have yet to hit their tusk growth spurts can be considered as a potential or emerging tusker. Older bulls usually determined but the sunken temples, exposed shoulder blades for example are unlikely to develop further and are therefore not eligible candidates. (This is not always easy and requires a skilled eye to see as elephants will often loose condition in winter and can improve in the wet seasons.)
• A full photo series of the bull must be available before naming to ensure that the proposed emerging tuskers is not a pre-existing tusker. This should include both ears, side view of the tusk, full frontal of the tusker and other potential ID points such as growths, trunk thickening, tusk grass notches where possible. This will ensure that there are no duplicate or apparent look a-like tuskers named.

What makes a tusker a Tusker:

An Emerging Tusker is an elephant that has notable tusks that extend between 1m – 1.5m from the lip line. These bulls will also show that they have the potential to develop from an Emerging Tusker to one of the Great Tuskers of the KNP, for this the estimated age of the elephant is essential, younger bulls have yet to hit their tusk growth spurts so can be considered as a potential or emerging tusker. Older bulls usually determined but the sunken temples, exposure shoulder blades for example are unlikely to develop further and are therefore not eligible candidates. (This is not always easy to see as elephants will often loose condition in winter and can improve in the wet seasons.)

A Great Tusker is an elephant bull that has tusks extending in excess of 1.5m from the lip line, these tusks will usually appear to be at ground level or close to ground level (this can be variable based on the height and size of the elephant). Unique to Kruger there are a limited number of these bulls currently in the Kruger National Park, several Emerging tuskers are showing potential but time will determine if these will rival the Great Tuskers of the past.

Where can people access the info:
All the information relating to the emerging tuskers project including photo and information pages on the Magnificent 7, Past Tuskers, Tuskers presumed deceased (these are named bulls that have not been seen for more than 10 years but for whom no carcass has been found); Female Tuskers and Current Emerging Tuskers can be found on the SANParks website with the link: http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/el ... efault.php.

This website is updated regularly by the project co-ordinator and is accurate to date for the Emerging Tuskers named and recognised by SANParks.

Contact details as to where to submit images can be found on this page as well. For those wanting to simply add their sightings to the database can submit images to [email protected] alternatively those wanting an identification or confirmation that their sighting qualifies as a tusker can submit to [email protected]. People should note the rules of submitting their sightings before submitting their sightings.

Skills in IDing tuskers, problems incorrect naming causes…

Identification of Emerging tuskers can be challenging and takes time to develop the skills and to know what to look for. Most people pay the most attention to the ivory. However this can be misleading as the ivory can appear different in length and shape from several angles and is not always reliable. Many tuskers also have similarly shaped ivory and can be difficult to differentiate between the bulls in particular when the share overlapping home ranges. The ear notches, tusk thickening and other ‘blemishes’ are therefore the most valuable.

Incorrect identification and incorrect naming practices cause confusion and weaken the value of the existing data base. Care should always be taken to ensure identifications are done by those who have the necessary skills in this area.


The images submitted on these forums (specifically to the tusker issue at hand) have been re-directed to a personal website and as a result people who are under the impression they are contributing to the SANParks research project (many of who are the loyal forum members). This data is not being captured in the data base and that there is no actual link between this private data base and SANParks. There is no working in conjunction with SANParks. This is not clearly stated on the private website.

The Emerging Tusker project is exclusive and there are only a limited number of named tuskers - and yet there is criticism that the Elephant Hall and Webpage are outdated. This is not the case.

Many elephants that have been named here on the forums would not be recognized as emerging tuskers by SANParks as they are not big enough or there is insufficient info to determine if these are not already named. To name them anyway would water down the merit and exclusivity of the project. While people, in their private capacity on private websites can name every elephant in the Kruger they must indicate which are recognized by Kruger and which have been personally named. If not clearly stated this can be again very misleading for people wanting to contribute to the data base.

Several guests have gone to the Elephant Hall for confirmations on ID’s done by Aat, most of these have been incorrect and in some cases are of the ‘self-named tuskers’ which SANParks have to then indicate to the guests do not qualify as tuskers or are not one of theirs. As an example, on the TOA website there are numerous images identified as Bidzane. But further down are yet more images identified as the same animal but are mis-identifications. This causes serious problems with the accuracy of the data and again waters down the validity of the project.


***********

Mod responses:

Please see this quote from a post by Aat this morning:
Aat wrote:.... just something I expected for a long time.


***********

As mods we need to ensure that only officially named elephants are listed on the forums. We have a responsibility to stop misinformation being posted on SANParks' website forums which is misleading SANParks' clients and diluting SANParks' conservation related projects. This is why there has to be a restructuring of the current topics on tuskers here.

@ Sharifa - until some months ago, we as moderators, who take the responsibility to moderate the forums, were not aware that Aat was not working in conjunction with SANParks.

***********

Thank you for your assistance AdrianFW - please see the responses from SANParks in blue:
AdrianFW wrote:MAC was an iconic KNP Tusker - he died in October 2013 and was found by the SANParks Section Ranger. Why on this website is his status still reported as 'Unsure of Status'? Is over four months not enough time to update the information? I don't see this as a very good start for the project.

There are two MACs. The one that died was Mac-APNR, he is listed on the Past Tuskers page and his death was updated accordingly. The other Mac (known simply as Mac) features on the Unsure of Status page. The Emerging-, Past- link, and Unsure of Status -link pages are all up to date.

Anyway here are my findings (I am not sure I have found all the defects).

Emerging Tuskers

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/tuskers/emerging_project.php

1. On my browser, Firefox, I get an Error 404 error when I first try and load this page. The redirect goes to: http://www.sanparks.org/error.php?pg=404
We are unable to replicate the error. The page does work.
2. Download Printable Form to report sightings does not work.
He is correct, the form does not work. The page has been updated to explain the exact steps to submit images/sightings. The form will no longer be used.
3. Past competition results for 2006 link to webpage with very limited information. It does provide a link to the Gallery of Tuskers http://www.sanparks.org/gallery/index.php/Shot-Left/tuskers/ but unfortunately that leads to an Account and Password protected page I cannot access. There is no Gallery of Tuskers.
He is right, this has been addressed.
4. Past competition results for 2007 do not exist.
This has been corrected.
5. There are no records later than 2007.
The competition was cancelled and ran from 2006 - 2008. The 2008 report will be published on the page as soon as its available.

Links Page

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/more/links.php

1. Amboseli Trust link does not work
2. CITES links does not work
3. ICUN link is general and not specific to Elephants
4. Paul Bosman link does not work
All links have been updated.

Recommended Reading

1. No reference to any publication after 2002 other then the KNP short booklet on the Magnificent Seven . Despite what the webpage says it was not available when I visited in Letaba Elephant Hall in November 2013. Is this page really regularly updated?
The Magnificent Seven booklet is being reprinted. It will be available as from May 2014. For more information contact [email protected] We have added a notice to the webpage to communicate the above info.


Tusks and Ivory

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/about/tusks-ivory.php

Links to photographs on this page do not work.
The faulty links have been removed.
- Dalene
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