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Excited Tusker Competition Winner Takes Off

Date: 2007-09-06

An excited Ms Arks Smith from the United States strapped herself into a SANParks helicopter and took off for the adventure of a lifetime, to actually take part in a research project in the Kruger National Park (KNP) at around 07:30 this morning (Wednesday September 5, 2007).

Ms Smith was one of over 400 entrants into the KNP’s popular Emerging Tuskers Competition 2006 and her first place entry included excellent photographs and footage of a new elephant with large tusks that had, until that date, never been identified as an emerging tusker.

This elephant has since been named Bidzane, which was the nickname given to long serving ranger Mr Gus Adenhorff, in standing with the KNP’s policy of naming the large tusk elephants after KNP rangers.

She will help Dr Ian Whyte and other researchers determine how many elephants there are in the KNP at the moment as part of the yearly animal census. This annual project takes place over a two-week period and covers the entire two million hectare surface area of South Africa’s largest national park.

Ms Smith is also an active member on the SANParks Website Forum where people from South Africa and all over the world regularly log on to discuss South Africa’s national parks and issues surrounding those parks. The Forum has been going since 2004 and there are presently more than 10 000 people registered on it, who have posted around 140 000 articles.

As the 2007 Emerging Tuskers Competition is now in full swing, visitors to the KNP are urged to keep their cameras, video cameras and digital cameras ready when they enter the Park and, if they are lucky enough to see an elephant with really large tusks, they should take as many images as possible.

Together with an entry form (to record time, date and place details) that can be found at camp or gate receptions or at the Letaba Elephant Hall, photographic or video entries should be sent to the Emerging Tuskers Competition, Letaba Elephant Hall, Kruger National Park, Private Bag X402, Skukuza, 1350. Alternatively, entry forms can be downloaded off the SANParks website and sent to

This competition will be run annually until further notice and all entries should be received by December 31 each year. That year’s winner will be announced during March or April the following year. Details of prizes for the 2007 competition will be announced later.

• The Emerging Tuskers Competition was first launched early 2006 and is a registered SANParks project to identify, track and learn more about the Kruger National Park’s large tusk elephants.
• More information about Kruger’s large tuskers and about the Emerging Tuskers competition can be found on the Letaba Elephant Hall website
• Read about how the elephant with the largest tusks in Kruger, Duke, recently broke his left tusk.


Issued by:
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677

William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communications, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919