So, what do the reports indicate? Time permitted an analysis of only the latest year and the year Botswana reopened elephant hunting - namely, 1996. Here are some of the highlights:
Seems Botswana did not produce a 100-pounder this year after all. That big tusker Kenneth Behring took in NG 32 this past summer weighed 99.2 x 97 pounds, not 100 x 99 pounds. This is not to suggest anyone inflated figures but simply to point out that the weight of both tusks had dropped below 100 pounds by the time they were officially weighed. Such a drop in weight is not unusual.
The three next-biggest elephants taken in 1999, after Behring's, weighed 93.69 x 84 pounds; 90 x 87 pounds; and 83.77 x 78.26 pounds. The average weight of all 224 tusks weighed in (112 elephants total) was 52.72 pounds. That breaks down in the following interesting ways: A whopping 42.8 percent (nearly half!) of the tusks weighed in tipped the scale below 50 pounds. More than a quarter of the tusks (28.5 percent) weighed less than 45 pounds. On the flip side, 25 percent weighed more than 60 pounds and 10.7 percent weighed more than 65 pounds.
Looking back to 1996, when Botswana first reopened elephant hunting, the four biggest elephants that year weighed: 83.5 x 76.9 pounds; 84 x 71.2 pounds; 77.18 x 70.34 pounds; and 70.5 x 71.66 pounds. The average weight of the 66 tusks weighed in (33 elephants in all) was 57.7 pounds. Nearly a quarter of those (24 percent) weighed less than 50 pounds, but only 15 percent weighed less than 45 pounds. On the flip side, 45.4 percent weighed........(continued)