If you purchased an Elephant Gin bottle (or more) in the fall 2013, chances are, the label displays the following name: MAFUNYANE.
Named after Mr Lou Steyn, Warden of the Kruger National Park from 1954 to 1961, Mafunyane means “one who eats greedily.” The bull’s home range was mostly on the Shangoni Section in the north-west of the Park – an area with no access to tourists. His long straight tusks were very symmetrical and identical in length and weight. He had a large hole in his head, penetrating all the way to his sinus cavity, which triggered a constant airflow through the hole when he breathed. It is believed that the hole was the result of an injury caused either by the tusk of another elephant during a fight, or a bullet fired from above from a tree or cliff. Either way, he was lucky that the wound did not cause any damage to his brain.
In his prime he was considered to be the Prince of Kruger’s elephants and became approximately 57 years of age. He was found dead on 16 November 1983 and his remarkable tusks are on display in the Elephant Museum in the Letaba Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park.
Tusks: Left: 251cm (55 kg); Right: 251 cm (55 kg)
Height at the shoulder: 327 cm
(Photo copyright – South African National Parks)