Big tusker elephants are scarce in Kenya as most of them die prematurely due to poaching. However, there are cases whereby African Elephants grow such long tusks that they scrape the ground. These rare animals are referred to as “tuskers.” Mostly, only old bull elephants grow their tusks long enough to reach the ground. Wildlife conservatives, however, estimated that only a few dozen such great big tuskers were now left in the African continent due to poaching. Poachers mostly target elephants with the biggest and most massive tusks because they have more ivory.
Big tusker Tim
One of these great tuskers died at the Amboseli National park in Kenya. Numerous people and tourists knew this great tusker as the majestic Big Tim. This great big tusker was named ‘Tim’ by Cynthia Moss, the founder of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. Tim was born in December 1996 by an elephant cow named Trista, and his name indicated that he was part of the T family. The big tusker was very much loved and well known throughout Kenya and by tourists who had met him from all over the world. Tim died on February 4th,2020, Tuesday morning, aged 50, due to natural causes. Tim died in the Mada area of Amboseli National Park. His carcass was discovered at the foot of the snowcapped peak of Kilimanjaro. His tusks were said to weigh more than 45kgs each.
The Kenya Wildlife Service, in a statement, said that they planned to put Tim’s body on display to the public. They further stated that Tim’s body would be transported to a taxidermist in Nairobi. While at the taxidermist, his body would be stuffed and preserved for education and exhibition purposes. Big Tim’s body would then be transported to the National Museum of Kenya in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
Big Tim’s herd
The majestic elephant roamed the remote, vast, and wilderness of Southern Kenya. Tim was considered an ambassador for his species, and even a life-size poster of him had been made. Iconic Tim was a member of the “T” herd. This herd letter was used in identifying and monitoring him and other members of his family herd. Tim also fathered many calves while he was still alive in the wild. He was an unassuming, unusual, and laid-back bull. Different from other bulls that leave the herd when they reach sexual maturity, Tim was always traveling in the company of females and their families.
“Tim was a slow-moving and benevolent preserver of the peace at Amboseli,” said the KWS.
Big tusker Tim’s raiding Habits
Tim was very fond of the habit of raiding farms belonging to locals. Due to this habit, while he was still alive, the great giant had been speared three times by angry farmers. Tim had one time even been speared in the ear. Wildlife conservationists, later on, discovered that the spear had gone through his ear and snapped off into his shoulders. Vets were called to remove the spear and treat other wounds the great big giant had.
In an attempt to try and prevent this from ever happening again and keep Tim away from poachers and farmer’s crops. The KWS and a group of conservationists, including Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Save the Elephants, and Big life, placed a collar on the animal in 2016. Wildlife rangers used the collar to monitor and know where Tim was and those accompanying him. The collar alerted the rangers whenever Tim and his herd were near a farm.
Whenever they got alerted, the rangers would quickly go out and try to drive Tim and his herd away before they caused havoc. Tim, however, was knowledgeable and learned how to dodge the rangers. Tim tried to enter 183 farmlands during the first year in which the collar had been placed. The rangers managed to stop about 50% of these raids in the first year. Tim lost weight due to his farm raids being stopped.
After two years, however, he somehow got rid of his collar. The collar assisted the KWS in providing Tim with protection and 24-hour surveillance. One time in 2018, Tim got stuck in a muddy swamp for several hours, but rangers got to him in time before he died. Tim was a super tusker and a magnificent elephant. Moreover, Tim was one of Kenya’s national treasures, and his presence impressed and inspired many.