(TruthSeekerDaily)  Satao, the world’s biggest elephant, is dead, at the hands of poachers who were after this incredible creature just to turn a buck on with his tusks.

Living in northern Kenya, Satao was celebrated as one of the last surviving great tuskers, bearers of genes that produce bull elephants with huge tusks reaching down to the ground.  Kenya is now in mourning at the slaughter of Satao and other iconic elephants, as they are the hardest deaths to bear being of the most rare animals in the world.

Satao’s safety has been at risk for some time, given the rampant poaching there this event was his inevitable plight.  What makes this particular elephant’s passing so egregious is that this elephant was especially intelligent.  He seemingly instinctively knew to hide his enormous tusks in bushes so poachers couldn’t see them.    

One blogger spoke to this, saying:  “I am appalled at what that means – that the survival skills that the bull has painstakingly learnt over half a century have been rendered useless by the poachers’ use of mass-produced Chinese goods; GPS smart-phones, cheap motorcycles and night vision goggles.”

Satao had to have known that the poachers wanted his tusks, maybe even by having witnessed so many of his fellow elephants fall victim to such brutality. Poaching2

It wasn’t until early March, during the great elephant census Satao’s death was confirmed.  Mike Chase from Elephants without Borders reported seeing two seeping wounds on the iconic elephant’s flank. Veterinarians rushed to the scene and confirmed that these were arrow wounds.

It’s hard to imagine what was going through the minds of the poachers on the day that they approached this mountain of an elephant and shot at him with crude bows and poisoned arrows. It must have been terrifying and yet the sight of his massive gleaming tusks probably left them salivating with greed.

Sadly, it’s suspected that for days Satao must have endured excruciating pain from the festering wounds.  Although he initially recovered from these injuries, it was later reported by Richard Moller, Executive Director of The Tsavo Trust, that the massive elephant’s carcass was found in a swamp. “I knew instinctively in my gut that this was Satao, but there was a tiny chance that I was wrong. I had to verify it before we go public”, said Moller. 

For days Richard and (Kenyan Wildlife Service) KWS rangers visited the carcass. It was certainly a giant tusker, but it was hard to tell if this was Satao, as the face was mutilated face and the tusks gone. They flew over the park and searched for Satao, hoping against all odds that he was still alive.

Then finally, Richard admitted that his first gut feeling had been right:

Today I had to write my official report to KWS and confirm to them that Satao is dead. It was the hardest report that I have ever written, I couldn’t see past a wall of tears.

It is not only the rangers in Tsavo or those who knew Satao who are sorrowful, all of Kenya is in a state of deep grief. Satao was not just a Kenyan icon, he was a global treasure. He was of such a phenomenal size that we knew poachers would want him, and no effort was spared to protect him. He had 24/7 protection from KWS and conservation organizations.

To many Kenyans, this problem is even more serious than the poaching. Wildlife services are like the drug addicts who are the most difficult to help, those in denial that there is a problem to be fixed.  Kenya suffers damage to it’s reputation due to the common practice of poaching and lack of transparency regarding it.  A fact that KWS seems blissfully unaware of.

Kenyans are angry and confused. Elephants do not belong to KWS but to the people of Kenya. Elephants are an important national asset that make a significant contribution to Kenya’s GDP through tourism. It is therefore in the national interest that the correct figures are shared with the public.

It is also confusing for donors. KWS is fighting furiously for funds to strengthen anti-poaching efforts, and massive ivory seizures also continue to snatch headlines, but according to official figures and statements, there is no elephant poaching crisis.

h/t: [ The Guardian ]

This is an issue that is worse than how it’s conveniently advertised by those that truly know the dyer status of elephants in these areas.  Before we know it, they could become extinct.