MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

GREAT TUSKERS OF THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

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Joao

 

Joao was Dr. Anthony Hall-Martin's favourite elephant. He spent more time with this bull during his years of studying the ecology and behaviour of elephants in the Kruger National Park than with any other individual animal. Dr. Hall-Martin named this bull after the Joao windmill in the Kruger Park where he first encountered the big bull. Joao operated along the Shingwedzi River and to the south of it.

In 1982 Joao was wounded by ivory poachers and hit four times by AK-47 bullets. The park rangers immobilised him and treated his wounds, thereby ensuring a speedy recovery.

Joao had magnificent tusks. His left tusk was 8 ft 9 in (266 cm) long, a very impressive length, and weighed 132 lb (60,1 kg). The circumference of this tusk at the lip was 22 in (55 cm), more than the tusks of any of the other Magnificent Seven. The right tusk measured 8 ft 3 in (250 cm) in length and weighed 121 lb (55 kg). In 1984 Joao broke both tusks off 12 - 16 in (20 - 30 cm) from the lip line and the pieces were never found. For this reason these are the only tusks not exhibited at the Elephant Museum in Letaba rest camp.