The existence of an elephant graveyard is certainly a much disputed subject. Whilst there is no evidence to support this theory, there are definitely a few facts that might explain the birth of the myth.
Elephant Graveyards: Myth or Fact?
Did you know that elephants have very unique teeth? In their lifetime, they produce six sets of molars. The front molars gradually wear down as the elephant feeds, forcing the next molar to push through. Once the sixth and final molar has worn away, usually by around 60 years of age, the elephant will slowly start starving to death.
Once the elephant is unable to eat, it will spend most of its time near water where it can at least drink and consume food that is softer. Elephants that are too weary to travel due to their age or because of an injury also often stay near to water and food. Several elephants may therefore die near the same waterhole, resulting in a relatively large concentration of carcasses within a small area. This gives the impression of an elephant graveyard.
Other reasons for these so-called elephant graveyards are environmental factors such as drought or poison, the unfortunate reality of poaching and the destruction of inhabited land, thanks to man. Elephants do not choose a location because they are ready to die; they choose to go where they have the best chance of survival.
So what is the answer to this age-old question? Do elephant graveyards truly exist? Well, probably not. But the urban legend of an elephant graveyard is certainly not ready to be buried yet.
Awesome Elephant Sightings at Addo Elephant National Park
Did you know that Chrislin African Lodge is located 12km from the Addo Elephant National Park? Contact our friendly and helpful Chrislin team to ask all about regular elephant sightings. We provide comfortable B&B accommodation and evening meals on request. We also offer game drives on open safari vehicles into Addo Elephant National Park. Come and explore the theory and decide for yourself if elephant graveyards truly exist.