Nation & World News

One Of Kenya’s Legendary ‘Tuskers’ Is Killed By Poachers

By Eyder Peralta on June 14th, 2014

Kenya is mourning the death of one of its legendary elephants.

Satao was known as a tusker, one of the few remaining elephants whose tusks are so big they almost touch the ground. Unfortunately, Satao faced an end many others have faced before: He was killed by poachers, who mutilated his head to remove his ivory.

The Tsavo Trust, a conservation group in Kenya, says that they spotted a large carcass in early June and while they feared it was Satao, they waited until they could collect more evidence to determine that the carcass was, indeed, Satao.

“Satao was shot dead by poisoned arrow on 30th May 2014,” the trust reports. “The arrow had entered his left flank and he stood no chance of survival.”

As The Guardian reports, however, Satao had survived an attack once before. In March, Mike Chase, the director of Elephants Without Borders, reported seeing “two seeping wounds on Satao’s flank.” They were arrow wounds, but despite pain, Satao survived.

Mark Deeble, a wildlife fimmaker, wrote about his encounter with Satao around that period on his blog. He writes that Satao was a rare creature, maybe one of a dozen left in Kenya.

Deeble sat in a metal box for weeks to try to film Satao. When he finally showed up, it was a breathtaking and sad experience. Deeble wrote:

“Initially I thought the sun had reflected off the windscreen of a distant vehicle, but there were no tracks close by. Whatever it was disappeared, then glinted once more. Alert now, it was several minutes before I saw it again. I came to the slow realization that what I was looking at was sunlight reflecting off an elephant’s tusks. Gradually, like in the opening scene from ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, their owner materialized through the shimmering haze. A mirage from the Taru desert — a magnificent, dusty behemoth.

“Other elephants stood sleeping, clustered in the shade of acacias, apparently unaware of the bull’s approach. He didn’t walk straight to water. It took him almost an hour to cover the final kilometer as he slowly zig-zagged from one bush to another. The glint I’d seen, came whenever he turned his head and appeared to bury it in a bush. Each time he did, he’d wait a few minutes, partially hidden, then continue zig-zagging upwind, scenting the air, to check there wasn’t a poacher hidden at the waterhole.

“I was mystified at the bull’s poor attempt to hide — until it dawned on me that he wasn’t trying to hide his body, he was hiding his tusks. At once, I was incredibly impressed, and incredibly sad — impressed that he should have the understanding that his tusks could put him in danger, but so sad at what that meant.”

In the comments of the post, Deeble explains that he initially left Satao’s name off his post, to try to protect him from poachers. With Satao’s death, he has added it to the headline.

“He was very special,” Deeble writes. “If his death can focus the world’s attention on the terrible trade in ivory and help end it, then it won’t have been in vain.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Minnie Miñoso smiles in front of a sculpture of him before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field. Major League Baseball's first black Latino star, Miñoso died March 1, 2015.

Minnie Miñoso, Major League Baseball’s First Black Latino Star, Dies

Miñoso, known as the Cuban Comet and Mr. White Sox, was a seven-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover whose major league career spanned five decades.


Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Wednesday.

Kerry Tries To Calm Tensions Over Netanyahu Visit

The Secretary of State said the Israeli prime minister is welcome to speak in the U.S. and that the White House does not want to see his address to Congress become “a political football.”


Survivors of an avalanche walk in the Abdullah Khil village of the Dara district of Panjshir province on Sunday. Nearly 200 people have been killed in north Afghanistan in some of the worst avalanches there for 30 years.

Avalanches Kill Nearly 250 In Afghanistan

The latest avalanches, in the Panjshir Valley north of the capital, Kabul, have cut off villages in the area for almost a week.


A user prepares to roll a marijuana cigarette on the first day of legal possession of marijuana for recreational purposes in the District of Colombia on Thursday.

6 In 10 Young Republicans Favor Legal Marijuana, Survey Says

A Pew Research Center survey shows that 63 percent of Republicans under the age of 34 favor legalization.


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro waves to supporters during a march in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday.

Venezuela Cuts American Embassy Staff, Restricts U.S. Travel

President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of “gringo” meddling and placed several individuals, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Marco Rubio on a list of people banned from the country.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments