Easter Encounters with Tuskers

One of our greatest joys when visiting the Kruger National Park is being treated to an encounter with a real “Tusker”; a majestic elephant bull carrying massive ivory. There are only a handful of these enigmatic animals on the continent, and they are living monuments to those who protect our wild places for generations to come. Owing to their special status, they are given names by the Park authorities, often according to specific areas they roam or in remembrance of rangers or other members of staff that dedicated their lives to the Park.

During our Easter visit to Kruger, we were lucky to have seen no less than three of these awesome animals. Each one of them has some unique features – scars on the ears, marks on the trunk, characteristic tusk shape, etc. that aids in the identification. We’ve submitted our photographs to the Kruger’s Emerging Tuskers Project and will update this post once we hear the names of these tuskers.

“Bull 1”

This big bull is known as “Hahlwa“, which is Tsonga for “twin” because he looks so similar to Masasana, another big tusker roaming the Kruger Park.

This last bull has not been named yet, but the project team will be keeping a close watch on him until he too receives his well-deserved moniker.

For some more pictures of tuskers we’ve seen in Kruger in years past have a look at this post.

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20 thoughts on “Easter Encounters with Tuskers

  1. BETH

    I do not remember how old I was when I learned the difference between African and Indian elephants, but it was a genuine revelation!

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  2. perdebytjie

    Nommer 2 se tande is ongelooflik mooi! In die Sabie-Sand het ons ook ‘n bul gesien met reuse tande. Ek was eintlik verbaas, want hulle is maar skaars. Ek wonder of hy iewers aangeteken is.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Heelparty van die Wildtuin se groottandolifante loop oor enorme gebiede, Dina, en daar is ongetwyfeld van hulle wat ook na Sabi-Sand, Timbavati, Klaserie en Balule oorloop met die dat daar geen heining tussen Kruger en hierdie reservate is nie.
      In die 1990’s byvoorbeeld het “Mandleve”, die bul met die swaartse tande op rekord in Kruger, gereeld in Sabi-Sand gewei, en meer onlangs was dieselfde waar van “Muliluane” – wat juis vernoem is na veldwagter Harry Kirkman wat in beide Kruger en Sabie-Sand gewerk het. Verder noord het “Mac” en “Masthulele” gereeld in Timbavati gaan kuier.
      Ek weet ook van n bul wat gereeld op Sabi-Sand (Djuma) se “SafariLive” gesien word met die naam van “Intwandamela” wat blykbaar meestal daar hou – die bul wat jul gesien het het nie dalk n radio nekband aangehad nie?

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          Gewoonlik nie, Dina, maar op fotos wat ek van die Sabi Sand bul gesien het het hy n nekband gedra. Die verdowing wat nodig is om die bande aan te sit is altyd riskant, en die ou grotes sukkel soms om orent te kom met die swaar, lomp ivoor na die veeartse met hulle klaar is.

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  3. Tina Schell

    Our African safari introduced me to the thrill of seeing these glorious creatures in the wild. I will never be the same after having experienced them. It seems to me if every person were sent for a 1-week safari there would never be another wild animal hunt. How in heaven’s name anyone could ever kill one of these incredible beasts is beyond my ability to understand. Thanks so much for posting these beautiful shots.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks very much, Tina. Killing one of these magnificent creatures for sport or profit is sacrilege, no doubt. And yet for centuries that was the norm, which is why seeing a tusker these days is such a rare thing.

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  4. John

    Very good and beautiful pictures of the impressive elephants!😊 Contrary to what most people say, the elephant does not eat all the trees and bushes, it paves the way for the sun’s rays to reach the ground so it grows more! Now Britain has banned all trade of ivory, including old ones! Hope that several countries will follow.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      You are very right, John. Elephants play an enormous part in the functioning of the ecosystem. Without them, Africa’s savannas would have looked very differently indeed. And the senseless value attached to ivory continues to baffle me.

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