Monday, March 24, 2014

Be aware of Musth a dangerous seasonal behavior of male elephant

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My last visit to Tarangire National Park exposed me to a behavior of grown male elephant known as Musth. The bull elephant was very uncomfortable in a way my peers thought it was sick. It changed tune and started acting aggressively towards our vehicle and other nearby tourists. We had to leave the place at once and It caught my attention and here is what I found out.

Musth from scientific point of view is a periodic condition of bull or male elephant which is characterized with aggressive behavior resulting from a rise of production hormones. The hormone is called testosterone which is found in mammals, birds and other vertebrates where in mammals it is secreted by testicles of males and ovaries for female, it's a principle element for male sex hormone whereby a small amount of it is produced from adrenaline glands.

A bull elephant in Musth may be identified in the national park or game reserve through a discharge of fluid called temporin from temporal ducts on both sides of his head. The temporin fluid contain protein and other smelling cholesterol materials which some amount of it passes through the mouth of the elephant creating uncomfortable situation causing him to react vigorously towards anything coming his way
Another contributing factor for harshness during Musth is that this period may be accompanied by a swelling of temporal glands which passes through the eyes and causes acute pain comparable to severe root sore toothache. Some male elephants try to counteract this by digging their tusks into the ground.

Please observe the flow of temporin fluid between the ears and eyes of the bull elephant.

Do not go closer to any elephant bull when you observe such signs, it was reported that a woman was killed by a bull in Musth in Marangu village in Tanzania. Be ware and be worn!


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