Ahmed the elephant--the last of the great ???--died in Kenya's Marsabit National Park January, 1974.?
Ahmed the elephant--the last of the great ???--died in Kenya's Marsabit National Park January, 1974. He was estimated to be 70 years old.
The great East African bull was known to every Kenyan and to wild-life lovers throughout the world. President Jomo Kenyatta enacted a decree forbidding the massive beast to be harmed and he was guarded night and day by five armed wardens to prevent him falling prey to poachers.
Ahmed's reputation had been based on his huge Over ten feet long (3.048 m) and weighing more than 200 pounds (90.7 kg) they were worth upwards of 15,000 U.S. dollars (6,500 sterling) as a pair.
When he finally died -- a victim of old age and an infection from a self-inflicted wound -- he was mourned throughout the worlds, ??? President Kenyatta ordered the mighty jungle monarch's body be preserved. The Kenyan leader's quick-thinking and foresight are soon to bear fruit.
Ahmed will eventually take his place as the prize exhibit at Nairobi's National Museum after month of painstaking work by a team of taxidermists at a workshop at Ruraraka, just north of the capital.
German-born Wolfgang Schenk is heading the operation. He rushed to Marsabit as soon as the news of Ahmed's death was received and took precise measurements on the spot of the great carcass.
The skin and bones were removed. The skin was treated and after a plaster cast was made of the skull with the tusks in place, the huge ivory pieces were taken to a bank vault for safe-keeping. The other bones were separately cast in fibreglass for lightness. The final stage of the preliminary process was the sculpting of a ???-tenth scale plasticine model of Ahmed working from hundreds of photographs when he was alive.
Now the second stage has been completed -- the mounting of the fibreglass bones and plaster head and tusks in the same characteristic pose as the model. The work should take another five months to complete. First Schenk and his men will build a model of Ahmed without his skin on the basis of the measurements and bone-casts. Finally they will make a cast of the model in thin, but strong, fibreglass. The skin and tusks will be fixed into the synthetic shell and the final touches -- eyes, hair and other details -- will be added.