Elephant-lovers mourn the death of Tim, Africa’s largest elephant

A magestic and solitary Big Tim at Amboseli National Park, with Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance.

Big Tim, one of Africa’s largest and last surviving super tuskers and an icon of Amboseli National Park in Kenya has died at the age of 50. Tim, who captured the hearts of many across the world died on 4th February of natural causes, Kenya Wildlife Service officials said.

While announcing his passing in a press release, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said that they had secured the remains of the elephant, which were transported to his final resting place, the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi. Here, he will be preserved by taxidermists and eventually put on display.

Cynthia Moss, the Founder and Director of Amboseli Elephant Trust said that Tim was an iconic large male, whose fame catalyzed many conservation collaborations between KWS and conservation organizations.

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“We will miss him but we also hope that his legend lives on and he continues to inspire people to protect elephants. He has fathered many calves too, and we are happy he got to live a long life in the wild,” she added.

Elephants have a median lifespan of 56 years but can live up to the age of 70. Kenya has an estimated population of 35,000 elephants. Poaching and the extremely high demand for ivory in Asia however, remain a big concern for conservationists and the KWS alike. Big Tim himself survived a poaching attempt when poachers speared him in the neck, he defiantly survived.

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The Big Life Foundation described Tim as an elephant that has since come to represent all of the different values, positive and negative, that humans place on an elephant’s life. “To poachers he is a target, to farmers he is a costly nuisance, to tourists he is a marvel, and to conservationists, he is a symbol of hope that our efforts are working.”


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