Tusker: An elephant, usually male, that carries large tusks in excess of 60 kg per tusk. There was a time in Africa when great tuskers roamed at will, from the deserts of Namibia to Mozambique, from Ethiopia to South Africa. Today, due to the growth of human settlement and the hunt for ivory, the large elephant herds have been drastically reduced so that fewer than 450 000 elephants survive. Sighting a tusker today is a magnificent event, not least because so few remain in the wild.
Author Johan Marais and wildlife artist Dave Hadaway have produced a book in which many of Africa's past and present great tuskers are immortalised in words, photographs and paintings. Great Tuskers includes information on ivory anatomy, ivory diseases, trade in ivory and conservation of the African elephant. But its main purpose is to share with the reader the beauty, grace and presence of the great bulls that once walked the earth, as well as the current big bulls that roam free in the few protected areas of Africa.