This beautiful elephant cow is thought to be the biggest female tusker in Kruger. She was first seen and photographed near the Sabie River high-water bridge on August 14, 2004. She was also photographed during the 2004 elephant census from the helicopter. She appears to have twins of about three to four years old as they were with her on both occasions. This is very rarely seen as elephant cows normally do not produce enough milk to raise twins.
This elephant cow is currently raising both calves. She is named after one of the other matriarchs in Kruger – Merle Whyte, who also has an extended family living in Kruger and the associated private nature reserves. A matriarch is a female who is the head and ruler of her family and descendants.
Merle Whyte earned this name when her children, grand children and friends in the park started to call her the matriarch of the park and shortened her name to Mamerle. Merle and her husband, Dr Ian Whyte, have been living in the Park for many years. The elephant is the only female that has been identified as one of the emerging tuskers in Kruger. Both her tusks have broken since the photo below was taken.