The most beautiful and majestic of animals, the elephant, was once a king of the African savanna and now lives in constant threat from poachers.
One of the last ‘giant tusker’ elephants, 50-year-old Satao, was killed in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park with a poison arrow.
Satao II, named after a famously large ‘giant tusker’ killed by poachers in 2014, is a huge loss, leaving only about 25 other African ‘big tuskers’ in the world.
‘Giant tuskers’ go by this name because their ivory incisors are so long they almost drag along the ground.
To most this would be a breathtaking creature which we should conserve and nurture, but hunters just see the money.
Elephants are endangered with their populations decreasing, largely due to the greedy valuation of their tusks by hunters who are willing to kill them for a few thousand pounds.
Richard Moller, head of the Tsavo Trust, told AFP:
I am pretty gutted really.
This particular elephant was one that was very approachable, one of those easy old boys to find. Many of the others are much more difficult to see.
He has been through lots of droughts and probably other attempts at poaching.
Ivory trade is one with an extremely bloody history and the national park was able to remove Satao’s precious tusks before poachers could collect them and fuel the evil trade.
The tusks weighed in at 51.5kg, (113.5lbs) and the other 50.5kg with each one being worth about £85,000.
About 30,000 elephants are killed every year for their tusks, and these well-endowed creatures are most at risk.
Tsavo Trust and the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) managed to track the poachers deep into the forest and caught them before they claimed their disgusting ‘prize’.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, (IUCN) the number of African elephants has fallen by around 111,000 to 415,000 over the past decade.
Incredibly sad stuff.