super tusker

The Super Tusker Elephant Safari in Kenya

A “Super Tusker” is a bull elephant with tusks that can grow up to 2.5 meters long and weigh 45 kg (99.2 pounds) each. The best opportunities to see super tusker elephants are in Kenya’s Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA). There are 43 of them, of which 10 are mega tuskers and 33 are young tuskers. The protected area covers 42,000 and is made up of Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. The two are separated by the Mombasa – Nairobi highway in the Taita Taveta county Coastal Province south east Kenya.

TCA is a key area for elephant conservation that focuses on preventing poaching for ivory and protecting habitats by mitigating human-elephant conflicts. The lead role is played by the Tsavo Trust to oversee the lives of over 15,989 elephants in TCA alone which represents about 40% of all elephants in Kenya. A major emphasis is on. The first super tusker was identified in 2013, when Richard Moller the founder of Tsavo Trust and team leader of 60 wildlife rangers observed several bulls. One by one the first bull was named Kenani and ever since it has inspired the culture of biodiversity conservation across the larger Tsavo-Mkomazi Ecosystem (Kenya and Tanzania).

The Red elephants of Kenya

super tusker

Situated in south east Kenya, the TCA is part of the semi-arid landscape containing red soils, rock kopjes, acacia savanna and riverine forests occur along the Galana River. In Tsavo East, elephants are known to bathe in red dust and muddy pools towards Taita hills which has effectively altered their color appearance into the “Red Elephants of Kenya.”

There are Big Five mammals with lions, buffaloes, leopards, elephants in Tsavo East and over 120 black rhinos at the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary (NRS), a 90-square-kilometer fenced area within the Tsavo West National Park. There are also unique species such as the Masai giraffe, Hirola (Hunter’s hartebeest), Vulturine guineafowl, fringe-eared oryx, grant’s gazelles, hippos, crocodiles, wildebeest, hyenas, and African wild dogs. In the Tsavo west, there are black backed jackals, lesser Kudu, golden palm weaver and an underwater park at Mzima springs. Besides wildlife, the landscape of TCA is uniquely characterized by volcanic features including the Yatta plateau (290 km long volcanic lava), Madanda red rock volcanic lava tube and baobab trees in Tsavo East.

Kenya’s elephant conservation efforts 

A wildlife viewing safari in Tsavo offers an opportunity to take part in Kenya’s conservation efforts through the Tsavo Trust mainly to ensure the survival of the last super tusker elephants in the wild. According to Earth Watch Institute, some of the most recent conservation technology aims to equip local rangers to track and monitor elephants everyday so that their movements may be better understood. Elephants can raid people’s crops which calls for solutions to live in harmony with nature.

super tusker

Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild and some of the rangers have grown up observing those with tusks that have grown to the extent of touching the ground. Because a single tusk can cost up to $25,000, the valuable draws poachers to hunt, kill and trade in elephant ivory was banned in 1989 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Yet poaching seems to be the primary threat behind the African elephant population decline. East Africa’s greatest elephant population is found in Kenya, where there are over 36,000 of them. Tanzania is second with over 20,000, while Uganda is third with over 5000.

In this way, Kenya is a key player in the protection of elephants in East Africa. In reality, some elephants have begun to pass away on their own, like “Dida,” who passed away in Tsavo East National Park at the age of 60 to 65 years. It is hoped that harmonious human-wildlife interactions may encourage conservation in the minds of rangers and the local communities.

The indigenous Watta / Watha tribe known as “The Elephant People ” are part of the Africa Conservation Education Network (ACEN), which together with Kenya Wildlife Services train aspiring conservationists to secure the future of super tusker elephants. The historical Aruba Dam was built in 1952 and now acts as a permanent source of water to prevent elephants from dying due to persistent drought conditions. Eventually the dam attracts wildlife in Tsavo East National Park. Perhaps, predator and prey drink from the same source including cheetahs and gazelles.

Travel for a reason to Kenya particularly visit Tsavo Conservation Area in order to appreciate the unique cultural and wildlife experience. Additionally, you can incorporate a safari in the Chyulu Hills and Amboseli National Parks as part of your super tusker elephant safari. The Big Five can be seen on game drives in both Tsavo East and West National Parks. However, each has its own special attractions. From exploring the Mudanda rocks in Tsavo East to having a bush dinner in Tsavo West.

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