March 15th, 2017 by James Ayre
One of the last giant tusker elephants in the world, named Satao II by conservationists, was killed in Kenya earlier this year by poachers. He had apparently been (very likely) killed with a poisoned arrow near the boundary of the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya in January.
Satao II was named after a famous giant tusker elephant that lived in the same area, and was killed there, back in 2014. Notably, the poachers apparently didn’t have time to find and retrieve (steal) the elephant’s ivory before he was found by park staff.
The area where Satao II was killed is a known hotspot for those poaching with poisoned arrows — which isn’t surprising as its near the park’s border, and access is easier there than in many other places. Three other elephants killed with poisoned arrows were found in the same area in January as well.
(Note: These are not the elephants in question, I couldn’t secure access to pics of those.)
The Independent provides more: “Satao II’s body was found during a routine aerial reconnaissance by the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) near the Voi river in Tsavo East National Park, according to the Tsavo Trust, a non profit conservation group which helps manage the park.”
“…Tusker elephants, so-called because they have tusks weighing more than 45kg, are particularly desirable to poachers because they produce so much ivory… There are approximately only 21 left in east, central, and southern Africa and of these 10 live in parks controlled by the Tsavo Trust with a further 16 elephants set to potentially grow tusks long enough to qualify in the next years.”
“KWS agents worked with rangers from the trust to track the gang leading to a raid shortly after Satao II was found, when two poachers were arrested and an AK47, 12 poisoned arrows, and three bows.”
While predictions are hard to make, especially about the future (thank you Yogi Berra), it’s looking increasingly likely that the giant tuskers will disappear completely within only the next few decades.
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