Nairobi, Feb 6 – One of Kenya’s iconic great elephants has died of natural causes at the age of 50, wildlife authorities said.
Nicknamed Tim, the tusker died at the Amboseli National Park on February 4, according to the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS).
Wildlife charity Save the Elephants noted that Tim’s death comes just four months after the loss of one of Kenya’s other well-known elephant elders, Matt, who also died of natural causes aged 52.
KWS took Tim’s carcass from the Mada area of Amboseli, where it was found, to the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi where he will be preserved for education and exhibition purposes.
Tim was one of the last remaining great tuskers in Kenya. He was a gregarious elephant, popular with the tourists though less so with the farmers who lived around Amboseli owing to his notorious crop-raiding habits, Save the Elephants said.
Farmers made many attempts to kill him because of his habit of raiding farms. He was speared three times. In February last year, Tim nearly lost his life after becoming trapped in a muddy swamp but was rescued by a team from Big Life Foundation, KWS and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Tim was collared in September 2016 in an effort to keep him safe and protect farmer’s crops. His neck was so enormous that he required a specially adapted collar.
“Tim was a special elephant – not just to me but to hundreds, thousands of people who would flock to Amboseli just for the chance to see him,” said Ryan Wilkie, former Save the Elephants field assistant. “He was so incredibly intelligent, mischievous, yes, but also a truly gentle giant and in that way a real ambassador for his species.”