The Iconic Tim
Tim the Greatest Tusker

Tim was one of the last remaining great tuskers in Kenya; with tusks so long that they touch the ground. This is the term used to describe African elephants – usually male – whose tusks are so long that they reach the ground. The great tuskers are an irreplaceable symbol of our continent’s unique natural heritage. Their magnificent tusks are in some countries trophies for hunters thus putting these elephants at risk.

In the mid-1970s the first research of the Amboseli elephants was begun. To make things easy for the researchers they named each of the elephant families with a two-letter code starting with the letter T, like TA, TB, etc. Then each elephant was given a name that began with the letter T. Thus, the son of Trista and grandmother of the indomitable Teresia became, Tim. Tim was named by Cynthia Moss, founder of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, as part of what has become the world’s longest running scientific study of the species.

In 2014, two of Kenya’s most iconic great tuskers, Satao and Mountain Bull, were killed by poachers, thankfully Tim survived an attempted poaching via a poisoned spear attack. A team of rangers found him and were able to cure the nasty infection of the spear attack. In 2016, Tim was again wounded by a spear and a blow to the head by a huge rock hurled by angry farmers.

Tim did what every intelligent being would do and took himself to the medical facilities to get himself fixed up! In 2016 the researchers needed to add more protection for Tim and to curtail his trips to the farmers market in Kimana, and so he was given a GPS collar. The authorities were always alert to his location at all times and mobilize security to the farmlands.

Tim was not only known for his tusks but also his friendly and charismatic personality. He was also known to be a prolific father much sought after by females in oestrus and spent his adult life passing on his genes to elephant population in Amboseli. He died in February, 2020 at the age of 50 from natural causes. He was over 11 feet tall and weighed over 12,000 lbs. The 150,000 bundles of muscle fibers in his trunk can lift about 800 lbs.

A postmortem on the elephant revealed that he died of a twisted gut, which is a natural cause of death for elephants. Tim’s body was rushed to taxidermists in Nairobi. Taxidermy involves creating lifelike models. It involves the removal, cleaning, preserving and filling the skins of dead animals with a special material to make them look as if they are still alive.

Tim’s body is being preserved for educational and exhibition purposes. The iconic elephant was one of Africa’s last great tuskers roaming southern Kenya, mostly in the Mada area.

Tim’s remains arrived at National Museums of Kenya aboard a KWS flatbed truck. Tests were immediately run to determine if the body is suitable for taxidermy. By the time Tim’s hide was being removed, his huge tusks had been removed and stored safely by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The preservation will last for 100 years. It will educate Kenyans on the need to protect wildlife. The bones, some hide and other organs will be preserved for study. The hide that will be mounted on the skeleton will on public display, with copies of the elephant’s tusks.

Tim now joins Ahmed, another huge tusker from Marsabit. A life-sized Ahmed look-alike is on display. Other wildlife preserved at the museum include a lion that died of natural causes at Nairobi National Park and a buffalo that used to charge at people at Nakuru National Park both undergoing taxidermy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rugged, hump-backed outcrop of ancient rock jutting high above the Athi Plains and hazily visible from Nairobi, Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is a densely forested mountain known to the local Kikuyu as ‘The Mountain of the Buffalo’, and to the Maasai as ‘The Big Mountain’.

Just one road leads to its summit, which offers magnificent 360’ panoramas over the Athi River, the pineapple fields of Thika and the snow-capped peaks of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

Dominated by a small mountain covered in montane forest, the Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is home to 45 species of birds including the white-browed sparrow weaver, grey-headed sparrow weaver, African pied wagtail, mourning dove, augur buzzard, African hawk-eagle and purple-breasted sunbird. Buffalo are the dominant animals in the ecosystem and other wildlife include bushbucks, leopards, olive baboons, aardvarks, porcupines, mongoose, pythons and monitor lizard. The mountain’s summit also offers visitors scenic views of Mount Kenya.

Within easy reach of Nairobi, the lush vegetation and cool air of this compact and scenic National Park make for an ideal day trip or camping weekend.

 

This are omnivorous animals that live in troops. They have arms that are longer than legs. In trees they climb with their long, powerful arms and on the ground they knuckle-walk (walk on all fours) clenching their fists and supporting themselves on knuckle. Their feet have broader soles and shorter toes suited for walking. They can stand and walk upright. Chimpanzees are tailless and its body is covered with black hair. The face, fingers, palms of hands, ears and sole of feet are hairless. Exposed skin of face, ears, hands and feet varies from pink to very dark although its lighter in younger individuals and darkens with maturity. They can move in trees by swinging from one tree to another. Chimpanzees are arboreal and terrestrial. They mostly search for food during the day.the males are aggressive and highly terrestrial to an extent of killing each other. They communicate non verbally using hand gestures and facial expression.
They construct new nests daily by lacing together branches from one or more trees ensuring the nest is comfortable and safe to sleep on. They use tools such as trees to dig into termite mound, stones as hammers to break nuts and insert leaves into termite mound where termite crawl into the leaf and the chimpanzee lick them off. They also use chewed leaves as sponge to soak up water and then drink water from the soaked leaf.
Females have estrus cycle of 34-35 days and while on heat, bare skin on her bottom becomes pink and swollen. The females give their young ones great attention and help each other with babysitting chores. The young ones learn survival techniques by watching their mother. Adult chimpanzee have special companion with which it spends most of its time with. They hold hands and groom each other.

These are herbivores animals with curved ringed horns, tan or reddish brown coat and white trump. They are social animals that herd in large groups. Since they feed in open grassland, they are prone to attack from predators hence they are always alert and sensitive to presence of other animals. They rely on their speed to escape from predators. They can reach speed of about 60mph in short bursts and sustain speed of 30-40mph. when running, they stiffly spring into the air with all four feet.
They live in hot,dry savannahs and deserts and to stay hydrated vin this environments, they shrink their heart and liver. Smaller heart and liver needs less oxygen and so the animal can breathe less and loose less water.

These are mammals mostly known to be grazers feeding on grasses, berries, barks of trees and also roots. They occasionally feed on dead flesh whenever there’s no food to eat. They have bumps on the head which is a thick patch of skin used for protection during fights. They have a thick mane on their back. They often look for already abandoned dens to make homes. Mostly they live in dens made by aardvarks. Warthogs can go for months without drinking water.
Female warthogs are social animals and they live in groups of about 40 members. They group each other and crowd together at night for warmth. On the other hand, adult males are not social and can be territorial. They search for food during the day. When threatened, the warthog can be quite fast at a speed of about 30 miles per hour. They ran with their tail up in the air heading direct into their dens sticking their tusks at the entrance for security. At times they face the attacker with their tusks and bite them with their sharp teeth.
The ox peckers and other birds ride on warthog’s body to eat insects off their bodies. Warthogs wallow in mud to get rid of insects and cool down on a hot day since they don’t have sweat glands to cool themselves. They kneel on front knees to feed since they have short neck and long legs.

This is an antelope that is characterized by a striking reddish – brown coat, black and white markings, white yellow stripes and long slightly spiraled horns. Bongo is a herbivorous animal and well known to be nocturnal though occasionally it becomes diurnal ungulate. Both males and females have horns. It is the 3rd largest forest antelope. It has a long prehensile tongue that it uses to grasp grasses and leaves. In Kenya it can be mostly seen in Mt Kenya national park. They have large ears used for sharp hearing. Their distinctive coloration helps them identify one another in their dark forest habitat. Theit lips are white topped with a black muzzle.

It is located in the south eastern part of Kenya. It was established to protect lower tana river forest and the two endangered species of monkey which are crested mangbey and the red colobus monkey. The river forest cuts through the dry woodland and the open savannah. This national reserve has rare species of birds such as white wingled apalis, open bill stork, martial eagle, bat hawk, pygmy falcon, and barred owlet. Mammals, amphibians and reptiles are also within the reserve.

Zebras are single hoofed animals that have white coat with black stripes on their body. Each zebra has a different pattern of stripes. The stripes helps in camouflage of the animal in long grasses as well as distract the predators. There are three species of zebras;
1. grevy zebra they have thin stripes
2. plain zebra have brownish shadow stripes between black stripes
3. mountain zebra have vertical stripes on the neck and torso, and horizontal stripes on its haunches.
Zebras are fast moving animals that move in large herds for protection from the predators. They are herbivorous animals that feed on grass, shrubs, twigs and leaves. They sleep while standing.

• Antelopes belong to family Bovidae while the deer belong to family Cervida
• Antelopes have permanent horns while male deers have antlers which they shed and grow annually.
• The antelope horns aren’t branched while the antlers of a deer are branched
The antelope and deer are even toed ungulates

Turkana is a hot,dry and desert area with thorn trees all over. The roads are rough hence being advised to use a 4WD car when travelling. The distance from Nairobi is around 700KM by road and around 500km by air. the various tourist attractions in turkana are;
1. Lake turkana this is the world’s largest permanent alkaline desert lake with the largest world population of Nile crocodiles.
2. Central island national park this is a volcanic island located in the middle of Lake Turkana. it is made up of 3 crater lakes which are flamingo lake, crocodile lake and tilapia lake with each lake providing breeding grounds of the animal its name stands for.
3. Loiyangalani desert museum it is located on a hill providing information about the 8 communities living within lake turkana which are; El-molo, Rendille, Samburu, Gabbra, Boran, Watta, dassanash.
4. Koobi fora this is an anthropological and archaeological site found on the eastern shore of lake turkana.
5. Sibiloi national park it is on the eastern shore of lake turkana and was established to protect the petrified cedar forest, wildlife and the unique prehistoric and archeological sites linked to origin of man. The park is waterless except for the alkaline lake.
6. Eliye springs resort it is on the western shore of the lake. It is a fishing destination among other activities such as boat riding.