Satao, one of Kenya’s largest elephants, has died after being shot by poachers using poisoned arrows.
Satao was one of the last surviving ‘great tuskers’, elephants with tusks so large they reach down to the ground.
He had been living in the Tsavo East National Park in northern Kenya but had become a target for poachers, who were using GPS and mobile phones to track him.
The Tsavo Trust, which works in support of wildlife in Kenya, announced the death “with great sadness” for one of the “most iconic and well-loved tuskers”.
On its Facebook page, the NGO wrote: “News of the death of Satao was a sad day for Kenya. It is devastating news for elephants and those who care about them. We didn’t do enough for him, and we are failing his kind. The few iconic Tsavo bulls that remain deserve presidential protection.”
Richard Moller, of the Tsavo Trust, said: “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.”
The death of Satao comes at a time when elephants’ survival is threatened due to extensive poaching activity in Africa.