The world is mourning the death of Tim, one of Africa’s last big Tusker elephants.
The elephant died at the Amboseli National Park at the age of 50 due to old-age complications.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said remains of ‘Big Tim’ as the elephant was known will now be preserved for education and exhibition purposes at the National Museum.
“The body is on the way to the National Museum in Nairobi for a taxidermist to prepare it for preservation for education and exhibition purposes,” KWS said in a statement.
Big Tim’s carcas was found at the foot of the snowcapped peak of Kilimanjaro, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants said.
The elephant was known predominantly for its big tusks. An elephant is technically a “tusker” when its ivory tusks are so long that they scrape the ground.
Usually, only old bull elephants grow their tusks long enough to reach this acclaimed status. But conservationists estimate only a few dozen such animals with tusks that size are now left on the continent due to poaching.
Tim was named by researchers who called each elephant in the family herd they were monitoring by the same letter to help identify them; Tim was a member of the ‘T’ herd.
In 2018, The iconic elephant was saved by KWS personnel and other well-wishers after he got stuck in Amboseli swamps at Kimana sanctuary. It took 4 hours to rescue him using powerful land cruiser vehicles and a tractor.
Tim, a darling of many tourists, was later struck on the head by a large rock and pierced by a spear at the tip of the ear leading to the embodiment of his shoulder. This made him acquire the name great patriarch of the Amboseli for having survived many life-threatening challenges.
According to KWS, elephants are matriarchal and males are solitary from the group when they reach sexual maturity.
“But Tim was always welcome to travel in the company of females and their families,” KWS said.
Poaching has seen the population of African elephants plunge by 110,000 over the past decade to just 415,000 animals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).