Watch: Kruger elephant’s ‘life

Photo: YouTube/Latest Sightings

Watch: Kruger elephant’s ‘life cycle’ captured on camera [graphic video]

Four Latest Sightings members managed to put together a story of the life cycle of Mavuso – one of the original six Kruger bulls brought into the park in 1998.

Watch: Kruger elephant’s ‘life

Photo: YouTube/Latest Sightings

Latest Sightings recently shared a video which tells the story of Mavuso, one of Pilanesberg’s dominant bull elephants.

Thanks to four Latest Sightings members, the real-life wildlife app managed to put together a story of the life cycle of Mavuso.

Mavuso and the “circle of life”

It is said that park regular, Johan Theunissen shared the opening scenes of Mavuso in his prime. Later, Ashleigh Enslin, a 52-year-old private dog park owner, and her husband, Colin, filmed Mavuso in an elephant clash. This ultimately resulted in Mavuso tumbling down.

“We left Johannesburg at the ridiculous hours of 4 am convinced we were in for the greatest big 5-day ever, as it seemed that the cats were leaping out of every bush and tree and parading down every road by the look of the ‘tings’ we were following on the Latest Sightings Pilanesberg Groups.”

By the afternoon, they noticed a large herd of elephants grazing across a wide area.

“As we got closer, we could clearly see two bull elephants sparring with one another. We pulled over at a safe distance, poured a sundowner, and watched the action. It quickly became evident that this was no mock-fight. The clash of tusks and intensity of the fight convinced us that this was an epic fight for dominance, but we could never imagine the tragic ending to it!”

Enslin says her heart was racing and the lump in her throat made it difficult to swallow because the older bull (Mavuso) seemed to rally and push back his aggressor, only to be pushed back again.

“Mavuso was one of the original six Kruger bulls brought into the park in 1998 and was known as the ‘gentle giant’ due to his relaxed attitude around visiting cars. The brute strength and courage shown by Mavuso ended when his opponent managed to push him over onto his side where he was gored several times. The rest of the herd alerted to the fight by activity and noise, rushed over trumpeting, and waving their trunks in obvious distress. Every now and then you could see Mavuso rocking around on the ground trying to stand again, then the herd gathered around him but were hopeless to assist such a giant.

“The following day we entered the park and found him there still. There were several members of the herd that had stayed next to him and you could see him still trying to get up, but, obviously, weaker than the day before. So, realizing there was nothing to be done, we reported the sighting to the relevant groups.”

Realizing there was not much more to see, and that they had a fair distance to cover before getting to the gate, the group reluctantly left.

Mavuso’s old herd

In the coming days, Myer and Cheryl Pincus visited the park and went to the location of Mavuso’s carcass. They were incredibly lucky enough to capture the scenes of probably Mavuso’s old herd coming up to him and paying their respects.

Helgardt Pretorius, a 31-year-old commercial pilot visited the park on 10 September and told Latest Sightings that they saw the ting of the dead elephant come in.

“It was a cloudy morning and as we got to the spot where the elephant was ultimately reported, a lioness was feeding on the carcass with a sub-adult male. They rotated and, at some stage, three lionesses were feasting on the remains along with a youngster right on-top of the carcass! It was a strange sight. We were happy to see it, excited even, but we also felt sad. It’s sad to see such a once-powerful animal, now being reduced to nothing. Our sighting ended with the lions moving off to find some shade to rest in, a few meters away.”