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One Ton was spotted for the first time in 1996 by Richard Bonham from Big Life Foundation. Richard has moved to Chyulu Hills, Kenya 11 years prior to this encounter and never spotted this beautiful elephant before – which led him to conclusion One Ton wasn’t always from this area. Africa Educational Trust (ATE) has confirmed his suspicion that he is not from the Amboseli region – which means almost certainly a Tsavo bull (a nearby region that is also home to many elephant herds).
When One Ton first arrived, he was very wild and afraid of humans – it took Richard a long time to be able to get any photos of him (and years later he is almost posing with Elephant Gin bottles!). One Ton was very shy at the beginning and hiding his impressive tusks when in proximity of people, but after about 6 months he started to relax. He broke his tusk in 2011 in a big fight with another bull in the acacia woodland, both of them came out of it looking pretty fragile!
The name One Ton comes from Richard’ racing youth, when him and his friends used to compete to get their car’s to 100kph, or “one ton”. This is almost how quickly One Ton used to run when seeing humans at the beginning!
Text: Amboseli Trust For Elephants & The Big Life Foundation