About the Author

Pete Thorpe

Field Guide

Right from his very first bush trip at the age of four, Pete was always enthralled by this environment. Having grown up in the Middle East, Pete’s home-away-from-home has always been a bungalow in the Greater Kruger National Park, where his family had ...

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15 Comments

on The Mystery of The Moving Elephant Skull: Part 1

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

W have seen many skulls lying around in the bush, and sometimes getting to the same spot we can see that it has moved. Maybe from one side of a road to the other side, or deaper into the veld. We always thought it was hyena that moved it. Definetely not jackal as it will be too heavy.

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

I would have guessed hyena as the suspect.
Given the down time, Peter, how about a short story!

Ian Hall
Master Tracker

These skulls are pretty heavy so the suspect must be other elephants , I can’t see lions moving it.

As you say the smell of a naturally deceased elephant is pretty ghastly

Chelsea Allard
Senior Digital Ranger

I love a good mystery. My Rational, logical, human self wants to know the animal(s?) responsible, but the mystic in me wants to believe the Spirit of the elephant cow herself is moving it. ✨🐘✨

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

How mysterious! It really gets the imagination working. Yes, put out the camera again to answer the question!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Sometimes nature’s mysteries are best left, just that….. oftentimes, the mysteries will reveal their secrets when the time is right. Until then, we can all fathom a guess as to why the skull moves.

Joan Schmiidt
Master Tracker

Pete, wonderful blog today – skulls lying around in the bush – who is moving them?

Wendy Hawkins
Senior Digital Ranger

We wait in anticipation for the next exciting episode of the mystery moving skull! Nice hidden camera pics. Thank you

Kara Taylor
Digital Tracker

Pete, that is so strange, but I like that it makes our minds work hard to figure it out! I also really believe that Elephants are so intelligent that I have no doubt they mourn their dead. Animals have so much more depth and intelligence than we give them credit for.

Paul Canales
Digital Tracker

This is all very interesting and mysterious indeed. Please keep us posted on your findings!

Judith Guffey
Digital Tracker

What a mystery. Who will solve it first?

Lachlan Fetterplace
Senior Digital Ranger

Can you set that camera model to take a video when it detects movement instead of stills? Probably wouldn’t helped in this case though if it was false negative…most trail cameras have a surprisingly high rate of failure to detect movement. Not sure about those cameras but some I was using recently had about 30% rate of misses.

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Lachlan,

We subsequently set up a different model that takes video both during the day and at night. The results so far have been fantastic. Yes I have noticed in the past how cameras have failed to trigger when an animal is directly in front of the sensor. However, I have been incredibly impressed with the clarity of images when capturing a fast moving subject. Trail cameras have definitely revolutionised our ability to investigate the natural world.

Wendy Macnicol
Digital Tracker

How stranger. “Curiouser and curiouser” as Alice in Wonderland said. Look forward to seeing the answer! IS there an answer? Wendy M

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

I would probably say it was a young bull elephant?

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