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Guarding tuskers

Tsavo Trust monitors the elephant populations of the Tsavo Conservation Area, specifically focusing on tuskers. It does so in close cooperation with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and research and conservation partners. See DONATION details below.

“Tuskers” (also referred to as ‘big/super tuskers” refers to elephants with tusks so large they scrape the floor and weigh more than 100 pounds on each or one side. Currently, an estimated 50-100 tuskers remain in the world, some of which reside in Tsavo. It is vital that we make every effort to protect what is arguably the last remaining viable gene pool of big tuskers. This includes the protection of tuskers and the emerging tuskers that have the potential to reach the status of tuskers.

There are several reasons why these tuskers are so rare across Africa. First, elephants with large tusks are a natural rarity. Second, these massive elephants are under constant threat from poachers seeking ivory. Third, trophy hunters outside of Kenya (hunting is not permitted in Kenya) actively target tuskers as the ultimate elephant trophy. Tsavo Trust, working in conjunction with KWS and partners, protects these big tuskers from the ever-present threat of poaching while allowing them the freedom to roam the Tsavo vastness.

Tsavo is famous for its big tuskers. The presence of these majestic animals brings large numbers of tourists to Tsavo every year, and that income is vital to further conservation efforts and supporting local communities. In Kenya, the co-dependence between humans and wild animals is strong but challenging, which Tsavo Trust is energetically trying to address. The vast and varied wilderness of Tsavo provides excellent potential for wildlife growth. However, this creates a massive challenge for effective wildlife conservation. Without aerial operations, monitoring this massive, largely roadless land area would be impossible. By guarding tuskers, Tsavo Trust also effectively provides security for all other wildlife within their range – such as hirola, the world’s rarest antelope species.

This monitoring is carried out by Tsavo Trust’s Aerial Unit, which provides regular “eyes in the sky” and works with ground protection teams, which provide “eyes and ears” on the ground. Also, in partnership with the KWS Research and Monitoring Department, Tsavo Trust has deployed the Tembo 2 and Tembo 4 mobile ground teams, which carry out daily monitoring of big tuskers in Tsavo East National Park (TENP) and Tsavo West National Park (TWNP).

Tsavo’s 8 known tuskers

African safari
Balguda was first recorded in April 2014, in Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo Trust
Buchuma was seen a few times recently but positively identified in May 2014. His right tusk is shorter than his left tusk (via break-off). He looks much more impressive head-on. He has a peculiar scar on his left abdomen
Tsavo Trust
Hatulo1 is an emerging bull with symmetrical tusks
Tsavo Trust
KO1 was first photographed and earmarked as an emerging tusker in early 2014. His right tusk is slightly shorter than the left, but it is long and symmetrical otherwise. His ears appear clean, apart from a couple of holes in the lower right ear
Tsavo Trust
Sala has a right tusk curved inwards, and his left tusk is consequently longer. He will emerge as a lovely bull tusker in just a few years
Tsavo Trust
SH1 is a large emerging tusker bull. He was first seen in March 2015. He has smooth ears and is tall and thin compared to Wide Satao (now deceased). His left tusk is curved and more prolonged than his right tusk
Tsavo Trust
SO1 was first identified in 2014. He has a mole on his ear and one tusk longer than the other
KM2 was identified in August 2015. Although seen many times previously from the air. He has a clean right ear, but a tear in his left ear and scars on his lower right flank

♥ How you can HELP TUSKERS

Annual running costs for the necessary activities are high, and your donation will go a long way towards protecting the last remaining Tsavo tuskers.

Click here to make your donation

How will your donation make a difference?

🚙 Keep Tsavo Trust’s wheels on the ground

  • Donate $10 to pay for 8 kilometres of vehicle patrols – or multiples thereof.
  • The teams use 9 vehicles on the ground at a cost of $2,500 per vehicle per month.
  • Each vehicle travels about 3,000km per month.

🛩 Keep Tsavo Trust’s eyes in the sky

  • Donate $50 to keep an aircraft in the air for 9 minutes – or multiples thereof.
  • Each aircraft costs $350 per hour of flight.
  • The aircraft conduct 55 hours of flights per month.

No matter how modest, your donation will directly support Tsavo Trust’s aerial and ground teams, who are dedicated to saving Tsavo’s tuskers and other species.


About Tsavo, land of legends
About Tsavo National Park’s great walk
About spending time with super tuskers
About the silent giants of Tsavo

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