By Hilary Kimuyu – Nairobi News
Tim, an icon of Amboseli National Park and one of Africa’s largest and most magnificent elephants is dead.
Confirming the jumbo’s death, Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Director General Paul Udoto said Tim died on Tuesday in Mada area of Amboseli National Park.
“The park management visited the scene and secured the body,” said Mr Udoto.
He added that the body was being transported to the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi for a taxidermist to prepare the body for preservation for education and exhibition purposes.
Cynthia Moss Founder and Director of Amboseli Elephant Trust said Tim died of natural causes.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our famous Amboseli elephant Tim. He died at the age of 50-years-old from natural causes,” said Ms Moss.
She added that Tim was an iconic large male, whose fame catalyzed many conservation collaborations between KWS and conservation organizations.
According to Ms Moss, Tim captured the hearts of people around the world, who would travel to Amboseli to photograph him. He was a wonderful elephant, and an ambassador for his species.
“We will miss him but we also hope that his legend lives on and he continues to inspire people to protect elephants. He has fathered many calves too, and we are happy he got to live a long life in the wild,” she added.
Big Life Foundation described Tim as an elephant that has since come to represent all of the different values, positive and negative, that humans place on an elephant’s life. To poachers he is a target, to farmers he is a costly nuisance, to tourists he is a marvel, and to conservationists, he is a symbol of hope that our efforts are working.
Tim was also blessed with equally massive tusks – which unfortunately made him a prime target for poachers. As a result, wildlife rangers kept a special eye on Tim.
In 2016, he survived a spear attack. Tim had approached a group of conservationists with a spear protruding from his head and a ‘huge bleeding wound’ on his forehead.
By the time a vet arrived it was dark so the group kept watch of him until the early hours of the morning, before sedating him with a dart to examine the injuries.
Tim was in the news again in 2018 after he got stuck in mud for hours. It took the efforts of land cruisers and a tractor to pull out the elephant whose tusks weighed at least 45.4kg each.