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Celebrating Kruger's Big Tuskers


This gallery is aimed at celebrating the recent identification by The Emerging Tuskers Project of 12 additional large-tusked elephants in South Africa's Kruger National Park, and to encourage visitors to the park to submit their photographs of large-tusked elephants. Due to poaching concerns, specific locations are not provided in this gallery, and should not be made available to the public by anybody.


The project, formalised in 2003, allows for the recording of valuable data which can be used to determine the development timeline of the elephants' tusks, as well as the distribution patterns of these magnificent creatures. This special project is a working example of 'citizen science' in African wildlife conservation, in which photographs and sightings from park guests are entered into the project database – and ultimately used to identify and name these rare tuskers.


In 1980, Dr Uys de Villiers Pienaar named the park's most impressive tuskers the “Magnificent Seven” – after the classic Hollywood western movie from 1960. These magnificent tuskers are likely some of the park's most famous elephants of all time. They were respected, not just in South Africa, but throughout the world and their story did so much to bring the African elephants’ plight, during a dark time, to the attention of the world. Sadly, they have all long since passed onto greener pastures, but thankfully the Kruger Park has been blessed with an ongoing legacy of large tuskers.


Because of the rarity of big tusker genes, and the very low proportion of old elephants in existing elephant populations, big tuskers themselves are very rare. The current elephant population of Kruger (2015) was estimated at around 17,000. In this population, only 22 were classified as tuskers. Kruger remains one of the few places in Africa to see these unique and magnificent animals.


To view this gallery celebrating Kruger's magnificent and rare tusker elephants, click on the arrows next to each image.