News / Africa

Iconic Kenya Elephant Slain for Ivory Tusks

Satao, one of the largest elephants in Africa, was killed by poachers for his ivory tusks late last month.
Satao, one of the largest elephants in Africa, was killed by poachers for his ivory tusks late last month.
VOA News
Last week, an international group reported that more than 20,000 African elephants were poached last year alone.

A day after the report was issued, wildlife officials in Kenya’s Tsavo national park announced that Satao, one of Africa’s largest elephants, had been killed.

The elephant was shot with poison arrows by poachers, who then hacked off its face and stole the tusks.
 
Satao, one of the largest elephants in Africa, was killed by poachers for his ivory tusks on May 30, 2014.Satao, one of the largest elephants in Africa, was killed by poachers for his ivory tusks on May 30, 2014.
x
Satao, one of the largest elephants in Africa, was killed by poachers for his ivory tusks on May 30, 2014.
Satao, one of the largest elephants in Africa, was killed by poachers for his ivory tusks on May 30, 2014.

The carcass was found earlier this month. Conservationists who had followed Satao for years identified the body from the ears and other signs, the French news agency AFP reported.

Satao, about 45 years old, was known as a “tusker” – his tusks so long they swept the ground at his feet.

"It is with enormous regret that we confirm there is no doubt that Satao is dead, killed by an ivory poacher's poisoned arrow to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in far off countries, a great life lost so that someone far away can have a trinket on their mantelpiece," Tsavo Trust said in a statement released late Friday.
 
Elephant populations endangered

The death of Satao, the latest in a surge of the giant mammals killed by poachers for their ivory, came a day after wildlife regulator CITES warned entire elephant populations are dying out in many African countries due to poaching on a massive scale, the VOA reported.
 
China is helping to fuel this multibillion-dollar illicit trade with its demand for ivory to use in decorations and in traditional medicines, the AFP reported.

Those eager to reap the benefits - tusks can rake in thousands of dollars a kilo in Asia - include organized crime syndicates and rebel militias looking for ways to fund insurgencies in Africa.

According to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), 2013 was the third year in a row that more than 20,000 elephants were killed across the African continent.

It said the sharp upward trend in illegal elephant killing observed since the mid-2000s peaked in 2011 and is leveling off.

Satao lived in a vast wilderness stretching over a thousand square kilometers (400 square miles), a major challenge for rangers from the government-run Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to patrol.
 
"Understaffed and with inadequate resources given the scale of the challenge, KWS ground units have a massive uphill struggle to protect wildlife," the Tsavo Trust statement added.

Militias behind poaching

Elsewhere, Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is under constant assault by renegade Congolese soldiers, gunmen from South Sudan and others, the AP reported last week.

The Johannesburg-based African Parks group, which manages Garamba, said since mid April, the 5,000-square kilometer (1,900-square mile) park has faced an onslaught from several bands of poachers who have already killed 68 elephants, about 4 percent of its population.
 
“The situation is extremely serious,” Garamba park manager Jean-Marc Froment said in a statement. “The park is under attack on all fronts.”
 
One group of poachers in the park is shooting the elephants from a helicopter and then chopping off their tusks with chain saws, removing the elephants' brains and genitals as well. In some cases, baby elephants that do not yet possess the valuable ivory tusks are killed as well, the AP reported.
 
African Parks, which runs seven parks in six countries in cooperation with local authorities, said the poachers include renegade elements of the Congolese army, gunmen from South Sudan and members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a militant rebel group whose fugitive leader Joseph Kony is an alleged war criminal, the AP reported.

Social media was humming over the weekend with accounts and photos of Satao's death.

On National Public Radio's website, Mark Deeble, a wildlife filmmaker, wrote of his attempts to film the elephant as it took more than an hour, zig-zagging its way through brush, to approach a watering hole.

"I was mystified at the bull's poor attempt to hide — until it dawned on me that he wasn't trying to hide his body, he was hiding his tusks. At once, I was incredibly impressed, and incredibly sad — impressed that he should have the understanding that his tusks could put him in danger, but so sad at what that meant," Deeble wrote.
 
Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.
 

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid