Ahmed the Elephant, the last of the great tuskers, died in Kenya's Marsabit National Park on Thursday (17 January).
Ahmed the Elephant, the last of the great tuskers, died in Kenya's Marsabit National Park on Thursday (17 January). He was estimated to be about seventy years old.
The great East African elephant was known to every Kenyan and to wildlife lovers around the world. President Kenyatta himself created a decree forbidding Ahmed to be harmed -- even if he wandered into places where elephant hunting was legal. He was chosen as the symbol for Kenya's 1974 Conservation Year.
Ahmed's reputation was based on his massive ivory tusks, estimated by hunters to be ever ten feat long and probably weighing well over 200 pounds, (90 kilograms). They were so heavy that Ahmed frequently rested them on the ground to take the strain off his great neck muscles.
The tusks are worth at least 6,000 U.S. dollars (2750 sterling) simply as raw ivory. As a trophy pair, they could fetch upwards of 15,000 U.S. dollars (6,800 sterling) -- an enormous temptation to poachers. He was accorded the security usually reserved for leading dignitaries -- five armed guards who camped in the area where the ageing elephant spent his final days.
Ahmed could have been expected to live perhaps another ten or fifteen years -- but in recent weeks he apparently wounded himself somewhere in the forest and an abbess formed on his left flank above the hind leg. His condition grow worse and he died early on Thursday.
President Kenyatta ordered that Ahmed's body should be preserved, complete with its mighty tusks.
Visnews cameraman Mohamed Amin took the last film of the old elephant-only a few days before it died.
SYNOPSIS: His name was Ahmed, the last of the great tuskers. His home was the Marsabit National Park in Kenya, and he was estimated to be about seventy years old.
He died on Thursday, only four days after this film was taken.
An abcess on Ahmed's left flank -- together with old age -- brought about his death.
Reputed to be the largest elephant in East Africa, Ahmed was known to every Kenyan and to wildlife lovers around the world. Five Game Wardens guarded the great elephant day and night -- not from the hardships of nature, but from poachers who sought his enormous ivory tusks. President Kenyatta himself passed a decree forbidding Ahmed to be harmed....
Unlike most elephants at Marsabit, Ahmed had tusks stretching to the ground: estimated by hunters to be over ten feet long and probably weighing well over two hundred pounds. The ageing Ahmed frequently rested them on the earth to 'take the strain off' his great neck muscles.
As a trophy pair, they could have fetched upwards of fifteen thousand dollars. But on learning of Ahmed's death, President Kenyatta ordered that the body be preserved complete with its mighty tusks -- a fitting end for the great elephant chosen as the symbol for Kenya's 1974 Conservation Year.