Nairobi, Oct 15 – Teresai, the iconic bull elephant of Samburu in northern Kenya died last month when he fell into an abandoned septic tank at the ruins of the former Serena Safari Lodge in Buffalo Springs National Reserve, WildlifeDirect reported.

Teresai, 41, was found dead on September 18, his hindquarters and most of the middle body having sunk into the cesspool when the concrete cover caved in under the weight of the pachyderm.

“I have spoken to both the Serena Hotels and the County Government and I’m very  disappointed that neither entity is willing to take responsibility for the death of Teresai, nor for the demolition of the dangerous ruins of the former hotel,” said Paula Kahumbu,  CEO, WildlifeDirect.

“If the numerous septic tanks at this facility are left open more fatal incidents will occur. Let us not wait for the death of children who are often found playing in the ruins to spur action. We are calling on the relevant Government authorities to urgently investigate the situation and hold the responsible party or parties to account,” she added.

According to Serena Hotels, the abandoned property was handed over to the county authorities many years ago.

“Teresai was one of the finest bull elephants in Northern Kenya,” said Frank Pope, CEO, Save the Elephants. “He was born in the early 1970s in the midst of the ivory poaching crisis that saw Africa’s elephant population halved, survived the resurgent ivory poaching that hit Kenya between 2009 and 2013 only to die in this circumstance. It’s a great shame on all of us, and northern Kenya is not alone. Ruined lodges scar the landscape of parks and reserves across the country, endangering people and wildlife. Something must be done.”

Kahumbu and Pope urged Kenya Wildlife Service and other relevant authorities to demolish and restore the grounds of all hotels that have fallen into disrepair exposing people and wildlife to danger and degrading the environment.