GOOD TO KNOW
New tuskers in the Kruger
Meet Ndlovane. This bull elephant (pictured) is one of 12 new tuskers in the Kruger Park. But what is a tusker? Kirsty Redman, co-ordinator of the Tuskers Project, explains.
What are the criteria to qualify? Tuskers are identified in two stages. An elephant is identified as an emerging tusker when its ivory extends 1 – 1,5 m from the lip line. These elephants are monitored to determine if there is potential for more growth over the long term. Once an elephant hits a growth spurt and the ivory goes beyond 1,5 m from the lip line, it qualifies as a large tusker and is put up for naming. The Magnificent Seven were all tuskers.
How was the idea for the project born? The Tuskers Project was launched in 2003, and the project has been monitoring large tuskers since then. This year, 12 of the elephants qualified as tuskers and were named and introduced to the public. The animals are usually given a name derived from the area in which they live, or derived from a certain physical characteristic. The project aims to track these elephants through visitor sightings and to collect data about their home ranges, their movements and their tusk-growth patterns.
How can I help? Send photos and videos to email@example.com. Include information about where in the park you saw the elephant. If you’re not sure whether the elephant you saw is a tusker, send your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org for identification.
Respect the elders. The tusks from most of the Kruger’s previous generation of tuskers – the so-called Magnificent Seven – can be seen in the Elephant Hall at Letaba in the Kruger. For more information about the new generation of tuskers, visit sanparks. org/parks/kruger/elephants