Satao Giant Tusker to whom Satao II
One of Africa’s rare giant tusker elephants has been killed by poachers in Tsavo National Park in Kenya.
Satao II, a 50-year-old so-called “giant tusker” was found dead near the park border.
Conservationists at the park believe he may have been killed by a poisoned arrow, although the cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
Satao II was named after another giant tusker killed by poachers in 2014.
There are now fewer than 30 African “big tuskers” – adult bulls with ivory large enough to brush the ground – in the world.
One weighed 51.5kg, (113.5lbs) and the other 50.5kg.
“This particular elephant was one that was very approachable, one of those easy old boys to find,” says Richard Moller, head of the Tsavo Trust. “Many of the others are much more difficult to see.”
“He has been through lots of droughts and probably other attempts at poaching.”
A team from the park and Kenya Wildlife Service recovered the animal’s enormous ivory tusks intact, before poachers could claim them, the park said.
His carcass was discovered in January during routine aerial surveillance of the 25,000 sq km national park, but was only announced Monday.
After the discovery, the park’s teams tracked an “elephant poaching gang” deep into the park, and two poachers were arrested.
Among the items found with the poachers were three bows and 12 poisoned arrows, as well as an AK47 rifle, the park said.
“Although this is a very sad loss in every way, we can take some positive from this in that Satao’s carcass was indeed found with the ivory intact, and recovered before it could fall into the wrong hands and further fuel the illegal ivory market,” the Tsavo Trust said.
“More importantly, this poaching gang… has been broken for ever.”
Adapted from the BBC