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This beautiful elephant was named after the Bububu Spruit and windmill, where he was regularly seen (Bububu meaning ‘the rumbling of flood waters’). Bububu had a long and straight right servant tusk and a broken shorter left master tusk. He also had a notable large tear in his left ear.
Bububu was rarely seen because of the remoteness of the area in which he roamed, and due to the fact that there are no tourist roads in this area.
Elephants have always been valued for their ivory, which was used and traded by many African cultures. In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans prized the material. Arab traders and Europeans later expanded the trade worldwide. The combined impact of the ivory trade and habitat loss, from desertification and human population growth, caused a decline in elephant numbers. By about 1600, there were no elephants remaining in north Africa. In the 19th and early 20th century, huge amounts of ivory were being shipped to Europe. Later in the 20th century, Africa’s rapidly expanding population took over many areas of land that would have been occupied by elephants. And in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the ivory trade reached new heights, fueled by a massive demand in Asia.
Text: South African National Parks
Photo credits: Angela Gaylard