Ahmed the Elephant of Marsabit

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    Ahmed the Elephant of Marsabit

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    Ahmed in the forests of Mount Marsabit

    Ahmed of Marsabit was and still is the most famous Elephant ever to have roamed the African continent. The territory around Mount Marsabit in Kenya may always have been renowned for its extraordinary tuskers, yet this particular ”Bwana Tembo” eclipses all predecessors. Born in 1919, Ahmed came from the forests of Mount Marsabit and grew to become a truly unique giant, justifiably known by the natives and big game hunters alike, as the "King of Marsabit".

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    The day I saw Ahmed by George Laycock

    In 1970, in order to protect him from poachers, former President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, placed the Elephant under his protection by presidential decree, an unparalleled occurrence in the history of the country and the only Elephant to be declared a living monument. The giant was watched over day and night by two hunters against poachers.

    A loner and quite elusive, Ahmed was seldom seen and was known better by reputation than by sight. One morning in 1974, after having waited in vain for their charge to reappear from the copse he had disappeared into the night before, his personal body guards decided to go and look for him. When they found Ahmed dead, he was not lying on his side, but resting majestically on his famous tusks, half leaning against a tree. He was 55.

    While Ahmed was alive it was thought that his tusks were of record size but after his death his tusks were found to weigh only 67,2 kg (148 lbs) each. This is still no mean size but is far from some other tuskers.

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    Ahmed skull and tusks

    Today, Ahmed of Marsabit can be admired as a mounted exhibit in front of the Kenya National Museum in Nairobi.

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    Ahmed of Marsabit at the Kenya National Museum in Nairobi

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