Kenya: Amboselli NP – Big-tusker Elephants

Amboselli is home to many so-called “big-tuskers” , or elephants with massive tusks (Amboselli national park was actually originally created just to protect these big tusk elephants from being poached, as one pound of ivory goes for around $1500 on the black market and a large tusk could weigh 200 pounds). We encountered quite a few, lounging deep in the marshland and partially submerged, eating the juicy grass. The tusks were truly enormous. Elephant tusks are the animals’ incisor teeth that never stop growing. They serve a variety of purposes: digging, lifting objects, gathering food, stripping bark from trees to eat, defense, protecting the trunk, and fighting. Just as humans are left or right handed, elephants, too are left tusked or right tusked. The dominant tusk is usually more worn down from frequent use. The chemical composition of ivory is the same or similar for all mammals, elephants or humans – dentine wrapped in enamel.