Kruger’s oldest elephant dies

2011-10-07 13:18

One the Kruger National Park’s oldest elephants, Duke, who was more than 55 years old, has died.

The elephant was discovered lying on his side along Makambeni spruit, five kilometres from Crocodile Bridge Camp on Wednesday, Kruger National Park spokesperson William Mabasa said.

The five-day-old carcass was found after the camp’s section ranger, Neels van Wyk, became worried when there was no movement from Duke’s electronic collar.

It was believed the animal died on October 1.

“Although Duke was old, we are very saddened by this magnificent bull’s passing as he was very popular and had avid followers who always asked about him,” said Mabasa.

“In the past few years, there had been enquiries as to whether Duke was still with us, so when news of his passing came through we assumed it was rumours doing the rounds again.”

The elephant had lost both tusks and last year was fitted with a tracking collar in an effort to check up on him.Duke was estimated to have lived in the Kruger bush for more than 55 years.

Following normal practice, the head, tusk remains, and possibly skeleton would be recovered and stored for possible display purposes.
Emerging tuskers were named after rangers and field rangers who made notable contributions to conservation and the Kruger.

The park said Duke was named after Thomas Duke, who was based at Lower Sabie between 1903 and 1923.

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