Tuskers in the Crater
It's widely known that Ngorongoro Crater remains one of the best places to see big tuskers. Prior to a global ban on ivory trade enacted in 1989, elephants outside of formally protected areas were decimated by poachers. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with its natural barriers and effective anti-poaching forces, was a relative haven for these massive bulls, and many found respite from the poachers’ bullets on the verdant crater floor. Bush elephants can live in excess of 60 years, so these bulls were likely refugees of the poaching crisis from the 1980’s. The genetics giving rise to these massive tusks have been thinned by intense human persecution: first by the old ivory hunters of the colonial era and then by the more modern ivory poachers of the second half of the 20th century. Such intense selective pressures favored smaller tusked and even tuskless elephants, with larger ivory becoming much rarer than it once was. These bulls are relics of ancient tuskers which were widespread just over a century ago
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