Newborn calf welcomed after death of father at Pumba Game Reserve

2012-06-26 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — A beloved elephant bull killed by his brother in a fight for dominance lives on in an Eastern Cape reserve in the form of a newborn calf.

The calf was brought out of thick bush in the Pumba Game Reserve by its mother yesterday.

The female is the last-born (for now) of the legendary Hapoor Junior, who ruled the Addo Elephant Park, in the Eastern Cape and later Pumba until a fight to the death with younger brother Nick in March.

Richard Pearse, Pumba’s conservation manager, said: “We are delighted. Not only because it is another Hapoor Junior offspring, but that the Addo gene strain has been strengthened in our elephant population.”

 The calf is Hapoor Junior’s fifth offspring at Pumba, but the first to be born after his death. Rangers are hoping for more, because Junior was the dominant — and therefore breeding — bull until his death. An elephant’s gestation is 24 months.

In 2005, Hapoor Junior was one of 12 bulls moved from Addo to other parks to end competition among younger bulls.

He and his brothers Derek, Nick and Koos were sent to Pumba.

In 2007, Derek tried to displace him, but paid with his life in the battle.

In March this year, Nick succeeded.

For all who had known him, the death was a great shock, because Hapoor ruled over not just elephant, but over territory and other vehicles, and was a familiar sight near the park’s lodge.

His father, Hapoor Senior, was quite a different character.

According to the Sanparks website, he got his name after a shot took a chunk (hap) out of his ear (oor), and he hated humans after that.

He ruled Addo from 1944 until 1968, when he was desposed by Lanky. He was shot dead later that year after escaping from the park.

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