Kruger National Park Identifies 12 New Emerging Tuskers – Meet the Elephants

The Kruger National Park (KNP)’s Emerging Tuskers Committee said it is proud to announce the names of twelve new emerging tuskers; thanks to the submission of elephant footage from guests to the Tuskers Project. See photos and descriptions below… which will make it quite exciting for safari visitors to the legendary South African reserve to find and identify the Tuskers in the future.

In a media release, the Kruger said the Committee monitored several elephants from as far back as 2009; until recently when they closely looked at 28 of them. Twelve of those, which showed sufficient development, were selected and named as Big Tuskers.

“The main objective with the naming of the magnificent bulls is to monitor the movements of these animals with Kruger being amongst one of the last places in which they can be seen in Southern Africa,” said the KNP’s Interpretive Officer and Committee Coordinator, Kirsty Redman.

“Elephant nominations were evaluated on its clarity, visibility of the animal and ivory, significant markings (e.g. ear notches), aesthetics, value to research and the information received,” concluded Redman.

“The names selected look at the characteristics or general areas in which the bulls are found and are unique to them.”

Meet the 12 New Kruger National Park Tuskers:


BOTSOTSO. Origin of the name: ‘Botsotso’ is Tsonga and refers to particular style of jeans that were worn in the olden days and is a direct reference to the large very prominent folds of skin on the rear of this bull making it one of his identification characteristics’. 


HAHLWA. Origin of the name: The name ‘Hahlwa’ Tsonga meaning ‘twin’ was given to this bull due to the background and history towards his final identification. The tusks and the ear markings of this bull resemble almost identically those of Masasana and in many images would seem to be his twin.


‘JUBILALA’. Origin of the name: Jub(a)ilala is swati meaning ‘cut the ilala palm’, referring to the cutting of palms lower down the spruit in Mozambique in earlier days (possibly for the brewing of ilala beer). This spruit is 13 km NE of Crocodile Bridge and is a tributary of the Godleni Spruit. 


‘MATLAKUSA’. Origin of Name: ‘Matlakusa’ from tlakusa, in Tsonga meaning to ‘raise, lift up’, this is a large open pan and borehole, alongside the eastern border, southeast of Malonga in the Kruger National Park and links to this bull’s large home range in the Northern and Far Northern KNP. 


NDLOVANE, meaning ‘Small Elephant’ has been given to this elephant not for his size but for his young age and great potential to develop into a future great tusker.


NGWENYA meaning Crocodile in Tsonga, originates from the favored home range of this bull in the southern KNP. 


N’WAMISEJANI. Origin of the name: N’wamisejani meaning ‘clever or notorious woman’ refers specifically to this cow’s role of Matriarch in her herd and the often revered manner in which the females in the herd will project their offspring and siblings in the Northern KNP. 


‘N’WAMNDLOVU.’ Origin of the name: ‘N’waMndlovu’, Tsonga meaning ‘Daughter of the Elephant’ refers to this cow’s role within the breeding herd. The images received would indicate she is not the Matriarch but one of the more senior cows in the herd structure, possibly a potential successor to the Matriarch.


N’WANDLAMHARHI, a Shangaan reference to the Sand River which means ‘the river that is fierce when in flood’. The name links to the bull’s preferred location to a spruit which is known for its dramatic flooding in heavy rains in the northern KNP. 


N’WATINDLOPFU – originates from N’watindlopfu spruit in the northern KNP meaning ‘spruit of the elephants’ in Tsonga and refers to the historical site where in 1987 a striking and relatively well preserved panel of rock paintings depicting a group of four elephants on a small granite koppie alongside this spruit was found.
There is reference to the proof of the early existence of elephants in the Park and therefore links to the great discovery that was this bull’s sudden appearance as a large tusker. 


VUSOPFA. Origin of name: Tsonga meaning ‘untidy’ Vusopfa refers to the heavily torn and ‘scraggly’ ears of this bull making him easily identifiable. 


XINDZULUNDZULU. Origin of name: Xindzulundzulu is Tsonga for ‘walking round and round in circles’ this is in reference to this bull’s much localized home range in the far north of the KNP. 


If you would like to add your sightings to the database, submit images to

For queries on identification or confirmation that a sighting qualifies as a tusker, submit the footage to