Photographer's Note

We began our trip to Etosha at Dolomite Camp in the far west of the park. Until recently this area was off limits to visitors and it was the first time we had spent time here. The dolomite outcrops give the area a completely different look and feel to the rest of the park. It was dry, seasonal rains had not yet fallen here although the eastern areas of the park had received rain. We were lucky to see elephant as they tend to migrate northwards at this time of year leaving the waterholes and finding fresh grazing and pools elsewhere.

Here you see a male, one of three bachelors who kept each other company. Note his broken tusk.

Etosha’s elephants are of the largest in Africa, the tallest measuring up to four metres at the shoulder. Adult bulls have a mass of between 5 500 and 6 000 kg, while the cows have about two-thirds of the mass of the bulls in the same area.
Their tusks on the other hand, are smaller than those of elephants elsewhere in Africa. This is ascribed to breakages resulting from mineral deficiencies in their diet and genetic defects. The fact that Etosha’s elephants have smallish tusks is a distinct advantage, in so far as this makes them less likely to fall prey to ivory poachers.

The elephant’s tusks are specialised incisor teeth consisting of dentine (ivory) surrounded by a thin layer of enamel, which wears away as the tooth grows. The tusks continue to grow throughout the elephant’s lifetime, having erupted when the calf is about three years old. Tusks are usually asymmetrical, the one more worn than the other, and are used for ripping bark off trees, as a support when bending branches, occasionally as a digging tool, and as a formidable weapon.

This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2012. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2818 W: 85 N: 6957] (31629)
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