Year in the Wild Blog


Posts with tag elephants

Death of the kings – Tembe’s elephants in danger

Within a few months, Africa has lost two of her finest sons.

In April this year, iSilo, the biggest tusker in Southern Africa, born in the mid 1950s, was found dead in Tembe Elephant Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Although he died reportedly of old age, his immense tusks – each weighing around 65 kgs and over 2 metres in length - had been hacked off by poachers, and still remain missing.

Then more recently in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, Satao, the biggest tusker in East Africa–
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Tembe, land of giants

Tembe Elephant Park in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal is one of my favourite protected areas. In 300 square kilometres of sandforest, woodland and swamps, you'll find some of the biggest tuskers in Africa, one of the most successful lion populations, some of the biggest Cape buffalo, thousands of nyala antelope, as well as one of the smallest antelope in Africa - the suni. Plus, there are some unique bird species to be found.

As usual, I stayed at Read more »

YITW 2013-14 – Charging elephants in Kruger – An artist’s interpretation

Artist Peter Stewart - based in Durban, South Africa - got hold of me a few months back, asking if he could paint some of my photos. He was interested in these two photos that I took in 2012 of charging elephants in the northern Kruger National Park, near the Levuvhu River. (You can read about this area in my blog here.)

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Days 37 & 38 – Year in the Wild 2013-14 – Surrounded by lions and elephants

For two hundred years hunters in the Eastern Cape had killed thousands of elephants. The most notorious was a rather unsavoury character - Major Philip Jacobus Pretorius - who was commissioned by the government in 1919 to kill any remaining elephants in the area. Fortunately, he failed in his quest. By 1931, when Addo Elephant National Park was proclaimed, there were just eleven elephants left in the Eastern Cape.

Today there are more than 600 of Earth's biggest land mammals in the park, and
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Long live the Kings of Addo

Weighing up to 7 000kg, and measuring four metres at its front shoulder, an African bull elephant can eat 200 kilograms of plant matter and drink around 200 litres of water every day. Elephants are very, very big.

But statistics and adjectives cannot prepare one fully for a close encounter with earth’s largest land animal. Wild elephants command attention and respect like no other. And in Addo Elephant National Park, just 50km
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Cape Times Newspaper – July 2012 – Tembe Elephant Park

My monthly column in July for the Cape Times was on Tembe Elephant Park, the home of the largest tuskers in South Africa, and some of the biggest in Africa. One of my favourite wild places in the country, and one that must be visited by wildlife connoisseurs. (1.4MB)