2nd Largest Big Tusker Elephant in Southern Africa Passes Away
End of an Era Brings New Legend, Farewell Induna
Induna, a bull elephant that lived in the Tembe Elephant Park, recently passed away from old age. A regal elephant, strong in stature with tusks that earned him the label of a “tusker”. A tusker is an elephant with tusks that weigh more than 45.45 kg/100 lbs each.
Induna was an amazing sight to behold, with the gentle movements of a patient giant moving through the bush, he carried a pair of the largest tusks in South Africa. Estimated to be about 50 years old, the combined weight of his tusks was thought to be about 107 kg/235 lbs, more than the weight of an average man. Like any elephant, especially a male, Induna didn't hesitate to claim his territory if needed or trumpet warnings and shake his head at any male attempting to intrude.
From prehistoric times to the present day, ivory has been sought by man as a luxury and a tool. The Trojans wore buckles and pins fashioned from the elephant's tusks, and adorned their war chariots with bits of ivory. King Solomon sat on a throne of ivory as he delivered his judgments. The Greeks cut ivory into statues of their gods; the Romans honored illustrious men with handsomely chiseled writing tablets and scepters carved in ivory. From 1860 - 1930, 25,000 - 100,000 elephants were killed annually for their ivory, mostly to supply material for the manufacture of piano keys in Europe and the United States. In 1990, the international sale of ivory was banned, but the demand remains and poachers continue to bring down these magnificent animals, and with great cruelty they rip the ivory from the elephant. (Laursen & Bekoff 1978, Ricciuti 1993, Nowak 1999)
The big tuskers in the Tembe Elephant Park are truly magnificent, and losing one always seems sad, but Induna lived a long life and died as he should have, of natural causes. We have truly been honored to have seen him cross the view of the cam on many occasions, causing quite a buzz as he meanders through. There are other elephants in the area with wisdom of age and tusks of glory, perhaps they will come through and allow us to see them, reminding us of Induna and others that have passed on before him. Even in death these creatures demand our respect, with their memories living on through stories and pictures, ensuring they will never be forgotten.
Farewell Induna, your life was truly one of magnificence.