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The Kruger National Park’s famous elephant bull, died of a suspected heart attack on the 10th February 2009, closely guarded by one of his dearest male friends. Tourists who witnessed his death said that he simply dropped down and died.

Alexander’s friend was clearly grief stricken. He kept chasing off the flocks of vultures and hyenas. He pushed his tusks under Alexander’s head numbers times as if he wanted to wake him up. He shoved his body against Alexander’s tusks, gently curled his trunk around it and pulled – and in the process ripped it out. What the younger elephant friend did next was even more amazing… He carried the tusk some meters away and placed it infront of the tourist’s cars. He then returned to his friend’s body, stood with it for a moment longer and walked away very slowly into the bush.

Human’s tusk extraction seems to have been accepted as “natural” by elephants now – and with it the grisly trauma of it. Through his action, Alexander’s friend found a way of leaving his friend’s body in some semblance of dignity instead of the hacked-off face often left behind by poachers…

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