Here's One Elephant's Life Cycle


Watch this video to really understand the meaning of “circle of life”. This video tells the story of Mavuso, one of Pilanesberg’s dominant bull elephants! ​

He used to rule the road, but, eventually, he needed to make room for the next generation. Thanks to 4 Latest Sightings members, we managed to put together a story of the life cycle of Mavuso. Johan Theunissen is a park regular and shared with us the opening scenes of Mavuso in his prime. ​

​ Ashleigh Enslin, 52-year-old private dog park owner, and her husband, Colin, are equally enthusiastic when it comes to wildlife and animals. They filmed the elephant clash that took Mavuso tumbling down. She told LatestSightings.com the story: “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, we were tired, dusty and a little more than disappointed with the slim pickings so far, as even the ever-present impala seemed to be on holiday – so, we decided to head back to the exit gate via the shortest route. Coming over the rise, in the far distance we noticed a large herd of elephants grazing across a wide area when our gaze was captured by a cloud of red dust and movement.”

“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!”

​ “My heart was racing and the lump in my throat made it difficult to swallow. The older bull (Mavuso) seemed to rally and push back his aggressor, only to be pushed back again. Mavuso was one of the original 6 Kruger bulls brought into the park in 1998 and 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.”

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

​ 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 the 10th of September and told Latest Sightings that they saw the ting of the dead elephant come in, and, knowing this, they decided to go and see what was happing at it.

WATCH:

“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, 3 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. ​