NAIROBI, April 13 – One of Kenya’s most iconic elephants, Il Talal, the colossus of Tsavo National Park died this week after apparent colon complications.

The super tusker was well loved and was renowned for his long symmetrical ivory that touched the ground. He was a shy elephant and often in the company of two or three other bulls (regarded as his “bodyguards”), according to the Maasai Wildlife Conservation Trust (MWCT). He lived close to human settlements on the edge of the Tsavo West National Park.

Rangers from the MWCT had in late February noticed that Il Talal had sustained a spear wound and the tusker was subsequently treated at the Kenya Wild Life Service (KWS) veterinary unit. He seemed to be making good recovery and was monitored daily by MWCT scouts and all seemed well until the night of April 11 when he did.

A post-mortem analysis of the carcass showed that Il Talal died from a twisted colon, a condition that is believed to sometimes occur after heavy rains that had recently brought an abundance of succulent plants to feed on.

The Tsavo Trust has been monitoring Il Talal for the past eight years and MWCT had known him for 20 years.

MWCT noted that Il Talal lived a full life and died in his twilight years. He also undoubtedly spread his tusker genes widely. He brought together conservation partnerships and his tusks were recovered intact and did not fall into the wrong hands because of consistent monitoring.