The African Elephant; Five Ton Giant ...
Ranger killed by elephant in Kruger National Park Feb 2005 ... see below
Dr Ian Whyte reported that 11,454 elephants were counted this year in the Kruger Park compared to 11,672 elephants in 2003. It was suspected that some elephants were moving into Mozambique. It took two weeks in August to count the Elephants
Weight of the African Elephant:
Male:5000-7000 kg. Female: 3000-5000kg.
Life Expectancy of The African Elephant:
55-75 years. On November 11th 2004 one of the largest "Tuskers" in the Kruger National Park was found dead by ranges (died of natural causes) .... this elephant was named Mabarule meaning "Big Foot" in Tsonga language. He was often seen close to the picnic spot called Makhadzi not far from Letaba camp.
Food Eaten by The African Elephant:
The African Elephant is a grazer and a browser. The African Elephant will eat grass, roots, tree bark, leaved branches and fruits.
The young Elephants will often fall prey to African Lion but otherwise the African Elephant has no predators.
Habitat of The African Elephant:
The African Elephant is very adaptable but prefers areas with clean drinking water, leafy vegetation and enough grass. They also prefer areas with shade.
African Elephant, When Active:
The African Elephant is diurnal and nocturnal and feeds long into the night.
Special Information on The African Elephant:
The African Elephant is found in breeding herds that consist of 6-300+ Individuals. A female Matriaque leads the herd that is made up of juveniles, sub-adults and females. The male bull African Elephant is normally solitary or found in small bachelor herds.
The record weight of an African Elephants tusk is 103kg, and the record length of a tusk is 3.5 meters.
An African Elephants gestation period is about 20-24 months long, and a mother will give birth to one calf (occasionally two) throughout the year. The mother of the new born calf will often still have juvenile or sub-adult calves to look after.
African Elephant have a good sense of smell but the same cannot be said for their eyesight and hearing.
The African Elephant can't tolerate the presence of any predators in the area and will chase them away even if they are no threat to them. This is also the case when the African Elephant is drinking at a waterhole, the whole herd will chase away any other mammals drinking. They can't stand other herbivores around when they want to drink. The African Elephant has also been known to chase away Buffalo that have been wallowing in the mud.
See these interesting African Elephant photos.
The African Elephant is also known as the African Savanna Elephant.
Field notes on the Elephant ' Olifant' 'Indlovu'
Keep an eye on the waterholes
These are the best places to see elephants, especially when it is hot and dry. Elephants spray water over their bodies to keep cool and drink about 100 litres of water every day - that's equivalent to 600 cups of tea!
Watch them eating
Elephants use their trunk, tusks and even feet to gather vegetation. At Addo, much of what they eat is thorny - the trunk moves branches into position between their large grinding teeth, so the tongue and lips are protected from the thorns.
An elephant spends most of its day ( and night) eating. Very little of the food passing through an elephant is digested before it comes out the other end. As a result, an elephant needs to eat 150 -200 kg of food a day and produces up to 100kg of dung!
Elephants are very important
- Addo's unique flightless dung beetle feeds on elephant dung.
- Elephants spread seeds and fruit in their dung.
- Their 'destructive' way of eating actually makes the bush grow thicker.
Culture and beliefs
African people have a tradition of respect for elephants and many believe they have magical powers. The San people of Southern Africa believe that elephants can call rains from the sky.
Like human children, elephant calves spend many years with their family, learning about the world around them. Female elephants (cows) stay in the family group in which they were born but males (bulls) are kicked out when they are 12 -14 years old.
Calves spend most of their time playing - it is how they learn.
Why don't Addo's females have tusks?
By the time the park was created in (1931) there were only 11 elephants surviving. Some of the females didn't have tusks (probably why they hadn't been hunted) and that tusklessness got passed on to their daughters. There are only four females with tusks today and they will probably be the last.
How many elephants live at Addo?
There are over 300 elephants at Addo today and the number continues to rise. The latest total, and news of recent births, is posted in Reception.
An elephant can be recognised by the notches, tears or vein patterns in its ears, the wrinkles on its face and its tusks (if it has them).
Some elephants are wearing collars!
The collars contain tiny radio-transmitters. Radio - tracking allows researchers to find and follow a particular elephant.
Did you know...?
Elephants can sleep standing up.
Media Release: Elephant Tragedy In Kruger National Park... Ranger Attacked By Elephant In KNP Date: 2005-02-24
A field ranger, Lance Corporal Wilson Ndlovu, was attacked and killed by an elephant while he was on normal patrol in the Stoltznek Section of the Kruger National Park yesterday morning.
The ranger, and his colleague, Field Ranger Raymond Nkuna, were busy with a bicycle patrol and were cycling 15 metres apart when the incident happened yesterday morning at around 07:30.
According to KNP investigators, who were on the scene soon after the incident happened, the area is surrounded by two-metre-high grass and the rangers wouldnt have seen the elephants until the last possible moment.
Field Ranger Nkuna survived the incident.
We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the Ndlovu family on their loss. Lance /Corporal Ndlovu was said to be one of the finest and most experienced field rangers in the KNP and we will mourn his loss for a long time, said the KNPs Executive Director, Dr Bandile Mkhize.
Lance Corporal Ndlovu is survived by three brothers (two of them work in the KNP and the oldest retired from KNP service recently), his wife and children, who live in the Mkhuhlu area.
Media Release: Elephant Overturns Tourist Vehicle in the Kruger National Park: Date: 2006-04-11
An elephant bull overturned a tourist vehicle in the Kruger National Park (KNP) between Phalaborwa Entrance Gate and Letaba Rest Camp at about 10:45 this morning (Friday April 7, 2006).
The vehicle had four passengers, the 40-year old driver and three children who all sustained minor injuries and were transported to Phalaborwa after the incident.
According to an eyewitness, the occupants of the vehicle were looking at the elephant from a distance but, unfortunately, when the elephant advanced towards the vehicle, the driver could not drive off immediately as the engine was switched off.
The elephant attacked the vehicle on the drivers side, between the drivers door and the bonnet, and overturned it. Other tourists hooted to scare the elephant away.
A few incidences of elephant aggression have been reported recently in the Park and we would like to advise tourists to be extra careful when they are at an elephant sighting in order to avoid incidents such as this unfortunate occurrence, said Dr Bandile Mkhize, the Executive Director of the KNP.
The family of the victims has been contacted and informed about the incident. KNP Rangers tried to track down the elephant with a helicopter but unfortunately it could not be found.