One of the first batches of Elephant Gin carry the name Duke: one of Africa’s most magnificent past tuskers.
This bull was named after an early Game Ranger in the Kruger National Park, called Thomas Duke, who served in the Lower Sabie area between 1903 and 1923. The tusker was seen and loved by many thousands of tourists and became a true Kruger icon. He was probably the largest tusker in Africa, when at his peak, his tusks were the second heaviest on record from the Park; his left tusk 70.25 kgs, and the right, 70.15 kgs. Later in life, Duke broke both of his tusks and with only the stumps of his tusks remaining, he lost much of his grandeur. Luckily the pieces were all retrieved.
Duke died in late September 2011 of natural causes. From the condition of his molar teeth, it was estimated that he was about 53 years old, which is not very old as elephants can achieve ages of 60 years or older. His tusks and skull are on display in the Elephant Museum in the Letaba Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park.
Photo copyright: Ian Whyte