Poachers kill beloved Kenyan elephant known for giant tusks

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(CNN) — Poachers killed one of Kenya’s most beloved elephants — a behemoth animal with tusks so large, they touched the ground.

Satao was shot with poisoned arrows in the sprawling Tsavo National Park in the country’s southeast.

Wildlife officials found his carcass with two massive holes where his tusks once stood. His face was so badly mutilated, authorities used other ways to identify him, including his ears and the pattern of mud caked on his body.

“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 mantlepiece,” Tsavo Trust said in statement late Friday. “Rest in peace, old friend, you will be missed.”

Satao was about 45 years old, and a hit among visitors at the national park, where understaffed conservationists monitored him regularly to protect him from poachers.

“When he was alive, his enormous tusks were easily identifiable, even from the air,” said Tsavo Trust, a non-profit that protects wildlife.

Though he mostly roamed within a limited part of the park, he recently started venturing to an area considered a hotbed of poaching activity.

The area he moved to in search of fresh water is hard to access due to its thick vegetation and scarce roads.

“With today’s mounting poaching pressures and anti-poaching resources stretched to the limit, it proved impossible to prevent the poachers getting through the net,” Tsavo Trust said.

His carcass was found earlier this month, but authorities verified his identity Friday.

“We are left with no choice but to acknowledge that the great Satao is no more,” the trust said in a statement.

Satao is a victim of an illegal ivory trade that has doubled worldwide since 2007, with the United States the second-largest retail market for illegally acquired tusks. China is the largest market.

Conservation groups say the recent surge in the illicit ivory trade has resulted in the killing of 30,000 African elephants annually in recent years. The tusks are sold for thousands of dollars a kilogram, making it a lucrative trade and endangering already fragile populations in Africa..

“The surge in the killing of elephants in Africa and the illegal taking of other listed species globally threatens not only wildlife populations but the livelihoods of millions who depend on tourism for a living and the lives of those wardens and wildlife staff who are attempting to stem the illegal tide,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. environment program.

Armed groups are capitalizing on the increasing value of ivory by killing elephants and trading their tusks for arms and ammunition.

By Faith Karimi

10 comments

  • Steven Sweeney

    Al-Shabab is the terrorist group that funds itself with the ivory trade.Slaughtering these creatures so they can slaughter women and kids.Just more violent hood rats with no guts, brains, or morals, similar to what we have here.Africa is filled with diamonds and gold, yet it would require some work to obtain it. This explains the decades of famine and suffering of the African people.Not swatting the flies off of your face and still getting pregnant twice a year-That’s swahili for gangsta!

    • TheREALByeBye2TheRite

      You speak of “guts” and “brains” as if those are things you have some experience with! While it’s so obvious you in fact know nothing about them.

      • Steven Sweeney

        No newspapers in Mommy’s basement? Google any of the groups I named and you have a VARIETY of resources.I speak the truth, which is why I’m not a pompous liberal.Your rants NEVER have a single fact and only a heroin addict or an apologist would be so lazy or clueless as not to be able to do a single google search.

  • TheREALByeBye2TheRite

    This story proves there is greedy human trash everywhere in the world, not just here in America.

    I mean, obviously the human creeps who did this are no different from our Tea Party conservative sickos – they obviously don’t like “excessive government regulation” telling them they can’t slaughter these animals! These thugs have no compassion for animals or any other living thing, just like our pathetic right-wing trash here! And the fact these little poachers are hunters and businesspeople, just trying to “work hard” for their money, makes them NO DIFFERENT from our conservative Republicans, always doing whatever they can to shove another buck up their behind, regardless of whether it’s honest or ethical!

    A general disregard for others and life – a common thread between this low-life human garbage working as poachers in Africa, and pathetic right-wing extremists like Steven with no regard for anyone or anything other than their own pompous inferior selves. Funny how two groups of people so many miles apart can be exactly alike! No, it’s not funny – it’s sick.

    The solution remains simple: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It’s the only language these sickos understand.

  • Steven Sweeney

    They are COMPLETELY different.Al Shabab is a muslim terrorist group cell from al qaeda, which Obozo supports.Liberals claim to love animals, but fund this.Just like Obozo funds the Muslim Brotherhood that stones girls for going to school.Just like Hillary and Obozo refused to label Boko Haram a terrorist group for kidnapping over 300 girls in Nigeria.Just like Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia who Obozo encouraged during the “arab spring”. Obozo and the liberals LOVE terrorists, but deny their “war on women, honor killings, slave owning, child brides, acid facials and the rest.So for the feeble minded liberals that can’t do a simple google search on my materials, keep excusing the terrorists and supporting them like dear leader Obozo.USA today, huffington post and even other liberal outlets have covered all of this.Your denial is just a lame attempt to excuse your terrorist loyalty, which is also loyalty to the liberal democrat party.

    • Steven Sweeney

      ElephantLeague.org Since we all know Liberals are too lazy and or brain dead to actually do a little research.Do I have to read it to you entitled losers too?

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