GOOD TO KNOW

New tuskers in the Kruger

go! - - Upfront In Brief -

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 tuskers@sanparks.org. 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 kirsty.redman@sanparks.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

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