Missing tusks were meant for King Shaka Airport display

2014-04-11 09:49

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Cape Town – Tembe Elephant Park close to Kosi Bay in KZN recently suffered a sad loss, when Isilo, a magnificent elephant bull and Big Tusker died of natural causes.  

Beeld reports that Ernest Robbertse, the tourism manager at Tembe, said Isilo’s tusks were the largest in South Africa at more than three metres long. The right tusk weighed about 65 kg and the left 60 kg.

The elephant was estimated to be around 58 years old and was one of the park's main tourist attractions. 

Unfortunately, by the time, Isilo’s carcass was found his tusks were missing. Park management suspects that they were carried away by poachers who then fled to Mozambique.  

Inkosi Mabhudu Tembe, chief of the park, has offered a reward of R100 000 for anyone who could return the tusks to his tribe.

Tembe said he has e-mailed the Mozambique crime intelligence unit to alert them to the theft. “I told them we want our elephant’s tusks back.”  

However, he has not heard from the authority.  

He said he had planned to offer the tusks for display at the King Shaka Airport. “Think how much it would mean for South African tourism,” he said.

Year in the Wild writer and photographer, Scott Ramsay, posted a tribute to Isilo on his Facebook page earlier this week: “For me, iSilo was a potent reminder of what makes Africa special, unique and incomparable. To me, there are few things on this planet as impressive and inspiring as a huge elephant tusker. His death is emblematic of what's happening to Africa's wild places and wild animals.”

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Read more on:    animals  |  travel  |  travel south africa

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