While studying old photographs of Raja I came across an interesting observation where it appears that his broken tusk seems to be longer in more recent photographs. Ashoka, my friend and colleague ( who is continuing his research with elephants at Uda Walawe National park, along with Dr Shermin de Silva from the University of Pennsylvania,) suggested that it is growing slowly.
Checking with some elephant experts around the world, I am made to understand that tusks, once broken off, do regenerate over time, provided they are not broken off at the very stump.
Records indicate that Raja broke off a considerable part of his tusk (almost 3/4ths) in or around 2005. Subsequent photographs indicate that this tusk is indeed growing longer. This may be the reason that villagers refer to him as “dala kota” or ‘short tusk’ now.