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Past Tusker - Duke

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RosemaryH
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Past Tusker - Duke

Unread post by RosemaryH » Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:09 pm

Past Tusker - Duke
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Photo by Marie de la Hunt

Origin of Name: Duke is named for the ranger Thomas Duke who was based at Lower Sabie between 1903 and 1923. A windmill which this bull frequents shares the same name.
Range: This large and docile animal roams in the South of the Kruger National Park between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge Rest Camps, these area’s dominating his home range, he has however been known to roam as far north as Tshokwane and the Metsi Metsi Trails camp.

Read more about Duke here
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Unread post by KNP Spokesman » Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:45 am

How old is Duke?

I understand that the only really accurate way to age an elephant is with his teeth.

An elephant has 6 sets of molars in its lifetime. These are replaced every couple of years until the last set is left. Most elephants on this last set of molars have only a few years left before they eventually die (quite literally of starvation as, without their teeth, they can't process food).

Scientists/researchers have documented the shape and size of these molar sets and, by looking at the teeth, we can tell within a few years, the age of an elephant.

At a quick glance, you can also get an "idea" by looking at the shape of an elephant's head. If it has deep depressions in the forehead region, that animal is probably fairly old.

As I have not yet looked inside Duke's mouth, I am not really sure but I would say he is a pretty old elephant and is probably about 50-odd years old.

Hope this helps ...

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman

PS - Hopefully, one day, I'll see him too ...

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Unread post by HappySnapper » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:36 pm

[quote="Wild@Heart"]What is the norm when naming the big tuskers?

Seeing that they did not know about him, do they name him or the people who took the photograph?[/quote]


I really should have responded to this ages ago and I’m sorry I didn’t.

Well; I can tell you how and when Duke was named for I was there!

It was close to Christmas 1992 and my family (wife, mother-in-law and two kids) and I were visiting the Park. One day – about noon/early afternoon if I recall correctly, we were slowly driving down that dirt road to the Duke windmill and waterhole. We saw this amazing elephant near the windmill, with two askaris.

He was heading back along the road, on the opposite side to the waterhole and he stopped at a point where he clearly wished to cross the road. He was very close to the car and seemed quite happy to wait all day, if need be, until we moved on – away from the particular spot where he wanted to cross.

I took a couple of pictures of him and really was excited. We drove to Skukuza and I went straight to the photoshop and waited impatiently for the pictures.

When they finally appeared we rushed off to track down Ian Whyte to show him.

He knew the elephant, of course, and showed us the only other picture that he then had of him, a Daryl Balfour shot. And then he said that he had not yet been named. Mother-in-law saw this as a challenge not to be ignored!

“Maybe (you can put on a little old lady voice here :-)) he can be Duke”, she said, “taking into account where we saw him?.”

Dr Whyte liked the idea and so Duke he became and remains. He also liked the one photograph and contacted me some months later in Grahamstown for permission to have a print made for display in the museum at Letaba. Which is where it has been ever since.

My mother-in-law, by the way, is a KNP addict and has been since - - - well; a very long time ago! She is now living in a retirement home in Port Alfred and spends most of her waking hours planning her next Kruger visit. Sadly, she is a bit frail and travelling is getting a bit much for her – Port Alfred is also quite far away from the KNP! She last visited about 18 months ago, with another of her three daughters, and she is now nearly 88 years old.

I thought you might be interested.

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Unread post by matthew » Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:12 pm

These photos were taken on the S28 in April 2005 8)

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Baz
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Unread post by Baz » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:25 pm

We think thi is duke, if someone can confirm

Seen at Ntandanyathi hide

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Last edited by Elsa on Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Pic resizing.

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wildtuinman
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Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:29 pm

Yup, it's him. Can even see the clip in the left ear. Very well done!
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Pieter Steyn
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duke temp

Unread post by Pieter Steyn » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:57 pm

This is duke

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Shidzidzii
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Unread post by Shidzidzii » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:44 am

Here are some photos of Duke (I assume ) taken on 26 th December 2006 at Muntshe waterhole just north of the mountain at about midday and very hot (over 36 degrees). he crossed over the road towards the Mlondozi river water pools .


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Last edited by Shidzidzii on Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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dianne
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Unread post by dianne » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:54 am


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Shidzidzii
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Unread post by Shidzidzii » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:55 am

2 more pics of Duke

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Last edited by Shidzidzii on Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Elsa
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Unread post by Elsa » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:56 pm

Thanks for the pics of Duke Mike, he really is such an awesome sighting and one that has been eluding me for so long now. :roll:
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wildtuinman
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Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:37 am

Weebirdy, if you see Duke you will just know that it is him. Physically he is not the largest ele in Kruger, but he sports with the two biggest pillars in Africa most probably.

Also remember that he is found in a specific region(Croc bridge towards Lower Sabie and as far up as the Sweni area), no other ele with similar tusks like his are found there.

I wish I could see you face the first time you gonna see a wild ele. :D Enjoy!

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Unread post by KNP Spokesman » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:03 pm

Hi Weebirdy

Duke is a very special animal whom I have only seen once. There are, however, some of my colleagues who have seen him more than once (notably some of the guides at Lower Sabie, the rangers at Croc Bridge and Tshokwane and, of course, our elephant scientist Dr Ian Whyte who has seen him a FEW times!).
He has also been spotted on the Lebombo Overland Eco-Trial (the four night, five day trip on our eastern boundary) so his range is fairly big.
The square notch on his left ear is small but distinctive, it is just a shade lower than his eye, on the edge of his hear "flap". You can't really see it on the photograph above but it is amazing how it stands out when you see this elephant "in elephant". [well, I can't really say "in person", can I?]
Less obvious is a strange V-shape (on its side) fold on the left ear but, as Wildtuinman says, when you see him there is no doubt in your mind as the tips of his tusks literally scrape the ground. In fact, rangers tell me that he often "sleeps" by leaning on these VERY LONG tusks.
He normally has 5/6 "Askari" bulls with him but over December 2006 he was spotted with a family group, including calves. Although it might not be (elephants have very loose associations between bulls and cows), there is a good chance that they are his siblings, so there is a bit of go in the old boy yet!
Incidentally, we think he is in the 55-60 year time span, which means that he doesn't have that much longer to go.

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman
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Unread post by jonty1 » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:13 pm

Saw Duke on the 7/4/07 on road H4-1 from Skukuza to Lower Sabie. He is definately a huge fella, and most beautiful. We were lucky to get these lovely shots of him :D
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Unread post by floydy » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:59 am

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I saw this guy, don't know his name, but has mighty long tusks!

(Taken just before Lower Sabie on the back road to Tshakwane)
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