Nduna has joined his ancestors by achieving the status of the second biggest Tusker in South Africa. The Biggest Tusker is his buddy Isilo from the same herd at Tembe.
They have seen a slice of life together, with others, having roamed, during his younger days the Transfrontier Conservation Area from Maputo Elephant Park to Tongaland along the Futi corridor, a unique combination of drainage swamps and sandforests. ‘Nduna’ means community elder, a hereditary councillor responsible to the Nkosi. Nduna’s tusks were estimated to be 52 and 55 kg and cannot be weighed as they are intact in the skull and will be mounted as a memorial to the warrior.
Nduna was a character of note. “ We loved to be at the waterholes before he arrived” reminisces Digs Pascoe of Space for Elephants Foundation, “he would chase everything out of his way. Birds, warthogs and even the biggest buddy Isilo. He then drank, splashed, sprayed, mudbathed and would then allow the askaris (sub adult bull attendants) to join in. He would spend hours sparing with these bulls , teaching them his old tricks and disciplining them as Grand Old Males should.”
The reason that the biggest tuskers occur here is believed to be due to the area being an ancient sea bed, Tropical Transition Zone as well as being home to a vast number of species as part of the Maputaland Biodiversity Hotspot, a Biodiversity area of World significance. The nutrients, minerals and trace elements resulting from this unique situation have resulted in the animals having healthier skeletal structures, making them taller and generally bigger.
Photo copyright and text: Space for Elephants