Tim, an elephant famous for the size of its tusks, died of natural causes in Kenya. He had survived attacks by poachers.
One of Africa’s largest elephants, one of the few pachyderms whose tusks touched the ground, has died of natural causes, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) announced on 5 February 2020.
He had survived several attacks
“The great Tim was one of the last African elephants with giant tusks. This famous elephant died on Tuesday morning (February 4th) at the age of 50,” KWS said in a statement. The elephant died of natural causes in Amboseli Park, southern Kenya, opposite Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. His body will be transported to Nairobi where it will be stuffed for display at the National Museum, KWS added. Tim had survived attacks from angry poachers and farmers. He was once treated by KWS veterinarians after receiving a spear that pierced his ear and broke into his shoulder.
A number of elephants in free fall
Environmentalists estimate that only a few dozen elephants with ground tusks still survive in Africa. Poachers, who search for elephants with the longest tusks for their ivory, make it their preferred target. These large pachyderms being killed first, the genetic heritage is reduced. This is how African elephants now have smaller tusks than they did a century ago, according to scientists.
In the last ten years, the number of African elephants has dropped by 110,000 to 415,000 specimens, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Some 30,000 African elephants are poached each year.