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Africa Geographic Travel

“Isilo” is the Zulu word for king. Isilo was a king elephant in the Tembe Transfrontier Park on the South Africa/Mozambique Border – the biggest tusker in Southern Africa.

Isilo the tusker elephant

It is with deep sadness and regret that Tembe Elephant Park has announced the death of Isilo the tusker elephant. Isilo died a natural death of old age in the southwest section of the park in an area known to be his home range.

He is thought to have died in January this year; however, dense foliage and few roads through this lesser-known game reserve resulted in his carcass only being discovered about two weeks ago. Unfortunately, his magnificent tusks had already been stolen by suspected rhino poachers.

Inkosi(Chief) Mi Tembe is offering a reward of R100 000 for returning the stolen ivory/tusks to the authorities at Tembe Elephant Park.

This is a very sad and tragic time. His presence will be deeply missed.

Tuskers are elephants with tusks that reach the ground. According to Rowland Ward’s records, the heaviest tusk of an African tusker weighed an astonishing 226lb (102.5kg), the heaviest tusk of a woolly mammoth weighed 201lb (91.2kg) and the heaviest tusk of an Asiatic elephant weighed 161lb (73kg). However, it is essential to note that the longest tusks are not always the heaviest, as weight also depends on the circumference of the tusks.

Lengthwise, the longest African tusk measured around 3.5m, the longest woolly mammoth tusk measured around 4m and the longest Asiatic tusk measured around 3m.

Unfortunately, hunters very much prize the so-called “hundred pounders” – whose tusks weigh at least 45kg each. As a combined result of trophy hunting, large-scale exploitation of ivory for consumer goods in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and devastating poaching, big tuskers have almost been wiped off the African continent. Once a common sight, roaming far and wide across East, Central and Southern Africa, now there are very few big tuskers left on the whole continent.

ALSO READ Africa’s big tuskers

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Africa Geographic Travel
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