The death of an Icon – ‘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 Tim 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. Tim was over 11 feet tall and weighed over 12,000 lbs. The 150,000 bundles of muscle fibers in Tim’s trunk can lift about 800 lbs.

 

 

 

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