Legendary Elephant 'Satao' Killed by Poachers

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Satao, a 45-year-old elephant with famously enormous tusks, was killed for those tusks by poachers.
Tsavo Trust

The animal kingdom lost a celebrity recently when poachers in Kenya killed a much-loved elephant named Satao.

A resident of Kenya's Tsavo National Park, Satao was easily recognizable to park staff by his enormously long tusks, which were so big they could touch the ground.

"Satao is dead, killed by an ivory poacher's poisoned arrow to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in far off countries," said the Tsavo Trust, in a statement on the elephant's death.

Satao was estimated to be about 45 years old, and visitors to the park were thrilled by the sight of him. He was killed on May 30, his carcass identified by park staff on June 2. His head was mutilated and there were only two holes left where his great tusks had been.

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Despite stretched resources, park staff had long since kept an eye on Satao, to try to keep him safe from poachers. But the great creature had begun to journey close to the park's border, an area known by conservationists to be highly active for poaching.

"The communities living just beyond the National Park boundary persistently carry out illegal activities inside the Park in this area," said the Tsavo Trust. The demand for illegal ivory stretches across the globe, and Satao was yet another elephant caught on the horrible supply side of that equation.

Looking for a silver lining, the Trust noted that Satao's offspring likely populate some portion of the park's elephant population and "they may become tomorrow’s generation of great Tsavo tuskers."

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