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Media Release: KNP’s oldest tusker gets tracking collar

Date: 2010-05-03

Duke is collared with his


One of the oldest tuskers in Kruger National Park (KNP), Duke has been fitted with a tracking collar in an effort to track his whereabouts should he die.

This according to South African National Parks, General Manager: Media & Stakeholder Relations, Reynold Thakhuli, who said Duke is approaching his last days in the bush and he might die any day, and as a conservation agency, SANParks, would like to keep its skull in the Elephant Hall Museum of the Letaba Camp of KNP for future generations and research purposes.

Thakhuli said it is estimated that Duke has lived in the KNP bush for over 55 years. “As a sign of aging he has already lost both his tusks while walking the vast area in KNP and he is also on his last set of teeth which makes it difficult for digestion. Fortunately the tusks were found and will be placed at the museum.”

The Elephant Hall covers elephant evolution, biology, behaviour, ecology and research. It also showcases the ivory of eight of Kruger's greatest tuskers (including six of the Magnificent Seven) who are currently on display at the museum.

According to SANParks Scientific Services an elephant age is estimated by using measurements of shoulder height, molar tooth wear and progression hind footprint length as well as dung bolus circumference or diameter.

It is understood that there are varying factors that distinguish the savannah elephants to those found in other areas. The classic shape of the KNP elephants (Savannah) is bowed and curved pointing forward and slightly upwards. They are also almost identically shaped in length, weight and thickness.

For more information on the KNP elephants contact Dr Sam Ferreira, Scientist: Large Mammal Processes and Species of Concern on telephone (013) 735 4000/4189 or e-mail:

Issued by:

SANParks Corporate Communications


- Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli, GM: PR, Media and Stakeholder Relations, tel: (012) 426 5203 / 073 373 4999 or email:,

- William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations, KNP, tel: (013) 735 4363 / 082 807 3919 or email: or

- Laura Mukwevho, Media Relations Practitioner, tel: (013) 735 4262 / 082 807 1441 or email: