Tim was friendly, smart and charismatic, says conservationist (Kenya)


Gilbert Koech, The Star

Date Published

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Inspired by the death of Tim, the super Tusker elephant of Amboseli National Park, a local NGO now wants authorities to set aside a day dedicated to the naming of all elephants in the country.

“We hope that the passing of Tim will inspire the launch of a national elephant naming ceremony so that all elephants can be celebrated annually as central to the heritage and identity of Kenya,” Conservation NGO, WildlifeDirect said on Friday.

Kenya has about 35,000 elephants.

Tim, the majestic super Tusker elephant of Amboseli died on Tuesday, aged 50.

WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu said they were heartbroken with the news of Tim’s death. “I feel, especially fortunate that Tim let me get close to him on many occasions. If I said I was in awe of Tim, it was an understatement. Whenever others saw him there were the gasps of disbelief.”

The NGO said Tim was famed for his giant tusks, awed and inspired so many people and attracted world-class photographers hoping to get a rare shot.

Tim died on Tuesday at Amboseli National Park, apparently of natural causes.

His body is currently being prepared by taxidermists at the National Museums of Kenya for preservation. Taxidermy is creating lifelike models. It involves the removal, cleaning, preserving and filling the skins of dead animals with a special material to make them look as if they are still alive.

Tim will be displayed for educational and exhibition purposes. Its tusks, which weigh more than 45kg each, have been secured by Kenya Wildlife Service.

Tim was friendly, smart and charismatic and was popular among tourists. Further, he was looked up to by younger bull elephants, KWS said. However, farmers whose farms were raided saw him as a threat.

Some years back, Tim was struck on the head with a large rock.It  also pierced through the ear with a spear, the tip of which was embedded in his shoulder.

According to KWS, Tim was a benevolent, slow-moving preserver of the peace at Amboseli. He was well known and loved throughout the country.