Tembe’s Isilo is no more…

From the Tembe Elephant Park comes the sad news of the death of Isilo, the magnificent and undeniable King of Tembe.

It is believed that the gentle giant succumbed to natural causes, a dignified end befitting his royal stature, in January 2014.

Isilo’s carcass was discovered about two weeks ago. Sadly it was also made known that his enormous tusks have been stolen, presumably by rhino poachers who happened upon the carcass, and investigations into the theft delayed the news being made public. As reported on Tembe’s facebook page, a R100,000 reward has been offered by the Tembe people, who have looked after Isilo and his realm, for the return of these invaluable pieces of ivory to them.

We were fortunate to spend some time in Isilo’s majestic presence during our visit to Tembe in May 2013. You’re welcome to have a look at our special blogpost recounting our audience with Isilo for some more photographs of the special animal.

Hamba kahle Isilo. Go well.

Isilo of Tembe, died in January 2014


38 thoughts on “Tembe’s Isilo is no more…

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We live in hope that the tusks will be recovered AJ, and Isilo must have sired a number of calves that will hopefully one day carry as impressive ivory as their father did.


    2. Paul Maynes

      My Wife and I have Just Come Back From Tembe, I can say with no Hesitation that I will remember My trip there for the Rest of my life. I have travelled this country from Kosi bay to Springbok, Mussina to Knysna and all the Reserves in between, however Tom (the Manager) and his staff made the stay at Tembe my nearest and dearest memory of this beautiful country the best. I asked him if we would see Isilo, The man hung his head in sorrow when he said “Ngokudabukisayo, Yena akasekho” ” Sadly he is no more!” I never met the beast and have for two years since planning this trip, looked forward to this day. Alas it was not to be, the good news was that just one tusk was recovered but the staff is keeping that news under wraps.
      I loved it, I will go again
      Hamba kahle umngane wami Angikaze ngimbone. Uyokukhumbula enhliziyweni yami!
      Go well my friend I never met. You will be remembered in my Heart!


      1. de Wets Wild Post author

        Thanks for the eloquent contribution Paul, and welcome here at de Wets Wild!

        We agree that Tembe’s a very special place, and that the people there are so warm and hospitable. It is a year since our visit and we’d return in a heartbeat if we get only the slightest opportunity.

        Isilo would have sired many offspring and hopefully his genes will live on at Tembe for generations to come, so that we and our children can continue to enjoy the beauty of magnificent tuskers like him.


  1. kanzensakura

    I am sorry to hear of his death. And still sadder to hear of the dishonor done to his corpse. I suppose these people would steal the teeth out of their dead if they would get money. Sad reality of life and sad for you all I know. I hope though, you all will have a good weekend and that his memory will never be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mjculverphotography

    Such sad news dear de Wet family. May Isilo rest in peace. How sad that poaching or stealing of ivory are still an ongoing issues. It’s a sad reality that ivory and/or rhino horn are still commodities that are considered more valuable than a beautiful animals life/lives. Human greed!!

    Wishing you three a beautiful weekend.


    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks very much Joey and Marks. Unfortunately the illegal trade in wildlife parts seems to be ever growing in magnitude. We shudder to think how bad the situation would have been if it wasn’t for the hard work of so many dedicated people fighting the scourge tirelessly day-in and day-out.

      Hope the two of you are also enjoying a great weekend. Back in the saddle yet?


      1. mjculverphotography

        I know Dries. It’s terribly disheartening to think that the illegal trade is growing despite the hard work of those people that try and stop it. There just aren’t enough of them and too many poachers. Dreadful.

        Definitely back in the saddle. We ended buying another seat from an online store as we still haven’t heard anything from the place that has my seat. I tried calling them once when they failed to call and update me on the status and was put off with the response that I had only just brought it in the previous Tuesday. I really didn’t want to wait that long and now regret having gone to them at all. Long story short, the seat we ordered arrived within 3 days and was installed. We’ve been busy putting on miles on a daily basis.

        I still have a lot to learn but am now also dealing with traffic on the roads as well as my beautiful bike. I thought the name “Pegasus” (Greek Mythology)

        Have a lovely weekend dear friends.



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