The Kruger National Park’s Emerging Tuskers Committee is proud to announce the names of twelve new emerging tuskers thanks to the submission of elephant footage from guests to the Tuskers Project.

The Kruger National Park‘s Tuskers Committee monitored several elephants from as far as 2009. Recently, 12 of those were chosen and named as big tuskers.

“The main objective with the naming of the magnificent bulls is to monitor the movements of these animals with the Kruger being amongst one of the last places in which they can be seen in Southern Africa. The names selected look at the characteristics or general areas in which the bulls are found and are unique to them,” says the Kruger’s Interpretive Officer and Committee Coordinator, Kirsty Redman.

The new tuskers are

The emerging tuskers is an ongoing project which was launched in 2003. In its first few years, the project ran a competition which focused on finding, identifying and naming of the new crop of elephants with large tusks. The competition encouraged visitors to take footage of any elephant for submission and ended in 2009. The project is however still ongoing and footage submissions to the project carried on and all 12 tuskers were named from those submissions.

“Elephant nominations were evaluated on its clarity, visibility of the animal and ivory, significant markings (e.g. ear notches), aesthetics, value to research and the information received,” explains Redman.

The project committee included: Dr Ian Whyte (retired large mammal scientist), Louis Olivier (retired regional ranger), Quintin Vermaak (SANParks Honorary Ranger – Bushveld Region), Rosemary Hancock (SANParks website forum representative), Joe Nkuna (Section Ranger: Mooiplaas), Richard Sowry (Section Ranger: Kingfisherspruit) and Kirsty Redman (Interpretive Officer & Coordinator of the Emerging Tuskers Project). The final decision on names and successful candidates being made by the Kruger National Park Management Committee.

Want to submit pictures?

For more information on submitting your sightings, click here. Those who would simply like to add their sightings to the database, can send pictures to [email protected]. For queries on identification or confirmation of a possible tusker, send an email to [email protected].

What’s in a name?

NDLOVANE, meaning “small elephant”, has been given to this elephant not for his size but for his young age and great potential to develop into a future great tusker.

NGWENYA, meaning crocodile in Tsonga, originates from the favoured home range of this bull in the southern Kruger.

N’WANDLAMHARHI, a Shangaan reference to the Sand River which means “the river that is fierce when in flood”.

N’WATINDLOPFU originates from N’watindlopfu spruit in the northern Kruger meaning “spruit of the elephants” in Tsonga and refers to the historical site where in 1987 a striking and relatively well preserved panel of rock paintings depicting a group of four elephants on a small granite koppie alongside this spruit was found.

VUSOPFA: Tsonga meaning “untidy”, Vusopfa refers to the heavily torn and scraggly ears of this bull making him easily identifiable.

XINDZULUNDZULU: Tsonga for “walking round and round in circles”, this is in reference to this bull’s much localised home range.

MATLAKUSA: In Tsonga meaning to “raise, lift up”, this is a large open pan and borehole.

BOTSOTSO: Tsonga and refers to particular style of jeans that were worn in the olden days and is a direct reference to the large, very prominent folds of skin on the rear of this bull making it one of his identification characteristics.

HAHLWA: The name means “twin” in Tsonga and was given to this bull due to the background and history towards his final identification. The tusks and the ear markings of this bull resemble almost identically those of Masasana and in many images would seem to be his twin.

N’WAMISEJANI: Meaning “clever or notorious woman” refers specifically to this cow’s role of matriarch in her herd and the often revered manner in which the females in the herd will project their offspring and siblings.

N’WAMNDLOVU: In Tsonga meaning “daughter of the elephant” refers to this cow’s role within the breeding herd. The images received would indicate she is not the matriarch but one of the more senior cows in the herd structure, possibly a potential successor to the matriarch.

JUBILALA: Jub(a)ilala is Swati meaning “cut the ilala palm”, referring to the cutting of palms lower down the spruit in Mozambique in earlier days (possibly for the brewing of ilala beer).

Source: Information and pictures courtesy of SANParks