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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.