Becky is pregnant!
Becky the African elephant is an icon of Tshukudu Game Reserve and we are thrilled to announce that this magnificent animal is soon to birth another calf. Chris Sussens, owner of Tshukudu, has adoringly followed Becky’s journey on the reserve for over thirty years now and he and his team are particularly eager to meet the herd’s newest addition. The expectant mother has faced awful misfortune in her life thus far, with three of her calves passing at a young age. One calf was hit by a train, the second killed by a rhino and the third succumbed to a snake bite. These events punctuate this charismatic elephants resilience and hopefully her next chapter is one showered by mother nature’s blessings.
Elephants wander great distances throughout the year in search of the best sustenance, thus Becky has spent a fair amount of time moving between Tshukudu and the Kruger National Park, her movements as well as the intermittent arrival of various bulls means we are unable to definitively identify the calves father.
Chris has noted a change in Becky’s behaviour over the last few weeks and recently he mentioned that the cow has been a little more volatile than usual, suggesting that Becky is nearing the end of her gestation period, which for elephants is 22 months!
Elephants are a key stone species and play a critical role in their ecosystem, these powerful animals have the ability to shape their habitat and this in turn help balance the environment for many other cohabitants, this fact coupled with Becky’s status at Tshukudu Game Reserve has all of us optimistically anticipating a great celebration in the near future. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for further updates on this story.
Here are a few fun facts about elephants:
The African elephant is the wold’s largest land mammal - with males on average measuring up to 3m high and weighing up to 6 tonnes. Males only reach their full size at 35-40 years, and can live for 60-70 years in the wild.
Elephants have around 150,000 muscle units in their trunk, elephants have many uses for their trunk but a lesser known use is as a snorkel when they swim.
Elephants tusks are actually enlarged incisor teeth which first appear when elephants are around 2 years old. Tusks continue growing throughout their lives.
An elephants skin is 2.5cm thick in most places. The folds and wrinkles in their skin can retain up to 10 times more water than flat skin does, which helps to cool them down. They keep their skin clean and protect themselves from sunburn by taking regular dust and mud baths.
Elephants need up to 150kg of food per day - that’s around 375 tins of baked beans, although half of this may leave the body undigested. Elephants can spend up to three-quarters of their day eating.