History of the Knysna Elephants: The Southernmost Free Roaming Elephants in the World

I just saw the article regarding the last Knysna elephant. I run the Knysna elephants and forests FB group and completed a very detailed article regarding their history. The article is attached.

Here is a piece I wrote regarding info about the last remaining elephant:

History of the Knysna elephants

The last remaining elephant in Knysna must be the calf born in March 1970. Nick Carter (professional game warden) confirmed the birth of this calf during his survey from February 1969 to January 1970. According to evidence, it was the last recorded Knysna elephant calf that was born. It was reported that a calf was born in January 1989, but it was only speculation, no evidence was found afterwards. This means that the current cow elephant (named Oupoot by SANParks) turns 49 in March this year. Her father (named Champion by Nick Carter) was the biggest elephant found in the Knysna Forest during Carter’s survey, and stood 11’3 ” up to its shoulder. The skeleton of an old bull was found in 1983 by fern-harvesters in Harkerville, south of the N2. Dave Reynell (retired forestry professional) compared this skeleton with the biggest bull found by Carter and came to the conclusion that it was the remains of Champion. According to Dave Reynell, the bull died between 2 and 3 years before it was found. Today the skeleton stands in the Forest Legends Museum in Diepwalle. Oupoot’s mother could have been the elephant known as the ‘Matriarch’, last seen in 2000 (when she was about 60 years old) by writer Lyall Watson when she stood on the edge of the cliffs on the seashore at Harkerville where she stared out to the sea. Nick Carter named her Elderberry during his survey. Elderberry (The Matriarch) gave birth to the calf born in March 1970.

There is a photo in my article (taken in 1977) where Champion, the Matriarch (Elderberry) and the current cow (Oupoot) grazed south of the N2 in the area of the Garden of Eden. The picture is on page 46 in my article. On page 45 is another photo of Champion and Elderberry before Oupoot was born. A photo of the Matriarch taken in 1994 can be seen on page 52. 

Kind regards

Ryno

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