Elephant Check-up

Gobisa, the Thula Thula male elephant who suffered from “increased testosterone levels”, having fun running after game drive vehicles, has now been cured from his “attention seeking” attitude which gave an adrenaline rush to some of our guests (and our rangers too..)

Thula Thula ElephantsFor those who remember, Numzane had to be put down for extreme violent behavior a few years ago; only afterwards did we discover he had a severe abscess in his tusk which would have caused him severe pain.

We decided to give Gobisa a full medical checkup as well. Gobisa was darted from a helicopter by wildlife veterinarian Mike Toft from Durban, and David Bozas, and given a dose of a special drug to help reduce his testosterone levels during “Musth”.

Musth or must (pron.: /ˈmʌst/) is a periodic condition in bull (male) elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behavior and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones – levels in testosterone an elephant in musth can be as much as 60 times greater than in the same elephant at other times.

Thula Thula ElephantsHowever, whether this hormonal surge is the sole cause of musth, or merely a contributing factor, is unknown; scientific investigation of musth is problematic because even the most placid elephants become highly violent toward humans and other elephants during musth, requiring segregation and isolation until they recover. Female elephants do not undergo musth.

Gobisa is now a true Gentle Giant, strolling along peacefully with the herd. Although he still surprises our guests and game rangers as he comes out of the bush unexpectedly, but just to say hello…

Article courtesy of Thula Thula Game Reserve


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