Title: In Search of Africa's Great Tuskers
Author: Johan Marais
Illustrator: Alan Ainslie
Publisher: The Penguin Group (South Africa)
Cape Town, South Africa 2010
ISBN 9780143026556 / ISBN 978-0-14-302655-6
Hardcover, 25 x 24 cm, 194 pages, throughout illustrations
In search of Africa's Great Tuskers is a celebration of Africa, the cradle of humankind, and its large ivory carriers. Africa is a timeless continent of volcanic mountains, vast deserts, tropical rainforests and endless savannahs. Elephants have adapted to and occur in all these different habitats. Among them, you will find the occasional bull carrying ivory in excess of 45 kilograms (100 pounds), a great tusker. These lords of the wilderness are the key to Africa's romance and mystery. Few of these magnificent bulls remain in the wild and with the ever-increasing human population in Africa, and the demands for ivory from the East, elephant populations throughout the continent are under threat. Some of the heaviest known ivory has been produced in certain regions in Africa, including the eastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), the southwestern corner of Ethiopia, southern Sudan, and the grassy plains of Tanzania and Kenya.
The swamps and surrounding plains of the Amboseli and Tsavo areas of Kenya, as well as southern and northern Tanzania are well known as traditional sources of big tuskers; in fact, the heaviest pair of tusks ever recorded was from a bull that was shot on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. I have travelled to most of these places in search of great tuskers and have, at the same time, come across some of the most spectacular conservation areas on the continent, some of which are World Heritage Sites. Africa has a greater variety of wildlife and landscapes than any other region in the world, a natural heritage of astonishing wealth. The conservation areas not only protect the wildlife, but form the backbone of the protection of biodiversity in their particular areas.
In 'In search of Africa's Great Tuskers' you will find a unique window into this heritage, with descriptions of each of these wonderful places and photographs that tell the story of my quest to find Africa's great tuskers. So, come with me on a journey through Southern, Eastern and Central Africa as I search for these magnificent bulls. They are living monuments that should be conserved at all costs, but so should the places where they occur be protected, places like Ol Donyo Wuas and Tsavo in southern Kenya, Tembe and Kruger in South Africa, Dzanga Sangha in the Central African Republic and Ngorongoro in Tanzania. These areas are home not only to the elephant, but also to a number of other endangered species, such as black rhino, western lowland gorilla, hirola and suni, and they contain high levels of plant diversity and endemics which add to their richness. However, my focus is always on the elephant and, in particular, the great tusker, to me, the greatest animal of all.
The Kruger National Park
Tembe Elephant Park
Tanzania - Ngorongoro Crater
Kenya -Amboseli National Park
Kenya - 01 Donyo Wuas
Kenya - Tsavo National Park
Kenya - Tsavo West National Park
Kenya - Tsavo East National Park
Dzanga Sangha Reserve