Amarula, one of the most famous elephants in Africa, has sadly passed away at the age of 65. Amarula was the biggest bull elephant in Pilanesberg National Park, which had become his home in 1998 when he and a few other ellies were moved over from the Kruger National Park.
Amarula made international headlines in 2011 when he was caught on film flipping a tourist’s car over in the park! It was accidental. As Pilanesberg describe on their site, a “highly aroused Amarula” (who was in ‘musth’) was simply massaging himself against the car! During musth a bull elephant experiences an increase in reproductive hormones and can become quite aggressive.
Just earlier that month Amarula, whose amputated tail was his trademark, had also left two French tourists without a front bumper and a slightly crumpled roof and flat tyre.
Yesterday Perry Steve Dell from Pilanesberg National Park & Wildlife Trust announced: “On a sad note, the inevitable has happened to our beloved Amarula. 💔”
Dell said his death was probably caused by old age. “He was not poached. None of our elephants have ever been poached,” he confirmed. Amarula’s body was found by the Bathawk anti-poaching surveillance patrol, and ground recce identified the deceased animal as Amarula. (The Bathawk is an amazing aircraft, which can fly low and slow, helping with monitoring wildlife and preventing poaching, and which is sponsored by Copenhagen Zoo.)
Dell paid tribute to Amarula, saying: “His legacy is immense, and we have the memories of him, as well as the knowledge that there are numerous little Amarulas running around in the herds. Rest well our boy, you have blessed the park with your foot prints all over, and the most awesome viewing for our visitors, some maybe a little too close. @amarula”
One of Amarula’s “followers” – Bennet de Klerk – said in a tribute as well: “Old friend… When I saw you, just a few short weeks ago, I could see that your eyes had lost their sparkle. I wished to be wrong, but I knew, right away, that this was our last meeting. I did not linger, much. You were in no need of company. Just quietly standing… I could see, you knew the end was near.”
Follow and support Pilanesberg on their FB page: www.facebook.com/PilanesbergNP/