An exciting chance came for Owen and Godknows to learn not only more about bulls in musth in the wild but also about the incredible research efforts employed in the field of elephant conservation to gather data and help the species in new and different and vital ways.

Elephants Alive’s mission is to ensure the survival of elephants and their habitats and to promote harmonious co-existence between man and elephants. Their work relies on intensive research through collaring elephants, which contributes towards the long-term survival of the African elephant and maintaining the vital diversity of our world.

Their long term tracking study has resulted in a critical, wide landscape understanding of elephant movements in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, (spanning South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe), to inform the conservation management of one of southern Africa’s largest and most important elephant populations.

Godknows shared a few highlights with us below!

“We tracked the bulls mostly. With the female breeding herds, the research is more general – looking at the size of the group, vegetation and habitat, what are they doing, are the moving, resting, etc. Mostly bulls are collared and tracked though.”

“The experience helped me to understand bulls more, especially when it comes to musth, because we haven’t witnessed a full musth with our bulls so it showed me what it’s like. It was an eye-opener, quite an experience, to witness the swollen temporal glands and secretions and the dribbling of the urine. I’ve never seen that, it was the first time and the smell was so strong. You can probably pick it up from 50 metres away. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s very strong, totally different!”

It was wonderful to have Godknows and Owen return to the HERD team afterwards to share their insights and experience with us and all the carers, and to feel their enthusiasm as they shared the tales and photographs – the elephants swimming and coming up to the car, spotting a leopard in the bush, the great tusks of the big bulls, the musth behaviour!

We’re grateful for our relationships and partnerships with different elephant voices and people working to support the never-ending task of elephant conservation on the ground.

Thank you to everyone at Elephants Alive for making our team feel so welcome and for sharing your experiences with us in the name of this magnificent species.

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  1. Such wonderful information. I how often wondered how HERD handled the Jubulani bulls when they are in musth? I now wonder why these bulls have not been in this cycle?
    Elephants just must be the most loveable creature on our planet. One reason being because of how gentle they are despite their size. Their social structure is amazing because of the sensitivity they have to each unique elephant personality in the herd. The way they communicate takes my breath away, because their emotions can clearly be seen in the way they relate to one another. They are so expressive.
    Many thanks to Godknows and Owen for sharing their wonderful experience.
    I love the work that is being done at HERD. Blessings to you all. 🐘🕊🕊🕊🐘

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