Tsavo ‘Super Tusker’, Ndawe, dies after multiple spear wounds

NamStay

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Hunting helps with conservation but senseless poaching is slowly destroying the gene pool for the future.


Ndawe was the missing link, the proof that we were looking for. We were sure that elephants made the long journey between Tsavo and Amboseli, and he was the confirmation.


Ndawe was what was known as a ‘hundred pounder’, an elephant whose tusks weigh 100 pounds or more each, and of which there are thought to be less than 100 on the entire continent. He was first spotted from the air in late 2016 and, on a whim, Big Life sent the photograph to THE TSAVO TRUST who monitor the tuskers of Tsavo. The response was exciting – this was indeed a bull that they knew, last seen in 2014. We have no idea how frequently he made the journey and still don’t know how many others do the same.

Ndawe-photos-696x464.jpg



Sadly Ndawe’s journey has ended at the hands of humans, death delivered by four spears. He was speared for the first time in late April this year and treated by the joint Kenya Wildlife Service/The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust mobile veterinary unit. We don’t know why he was speared this first time, it was potentially the result of crop-raiding and conflict with humans.

The next spearings are more sinister. The area where Ndawe lived is now separated from cropland by the newly constructed electric crop-protection fence, and so it is highly unlikely that these are the result of conflict. The fact that three spears hit is even more unlikely in a spontaneous conflict incident. Big Life is confident that this was a poaching attempt, perhaps opportunistic.

Ndawe’s condition had been declining since the first spear wound treatment, and his recovery was not helped by the dry conditions and poor quality forage at this time of the year. It is likely that this did not go unnoticed, and he was targeted by poachers due to his weakness.

But none of the spears killed him immediately, rangers reported the wounds and he was darted for treatment once again. Sadly, this time he did not get up. Infection from the wounds, his poor health, and age all contributed, but it was spears that killed him. At an estimated at 55-60 years he was a grand old bull and with his teeth worn down he was right at the end of his life, but this was a sad way to finish it.

The only consolation is that his tusks have been retrieved, and his death will not line a poacher’s pockets. We are doing what we can to track his killers, but for now the scent is cold.

However, his life will have an enduring impact because he is the proof of the importance of the Kimana conservancies and corridor, a highly threatened but critical link that elephants use to travel around the ecosystem. His name will certainly be a powerful force in the future as Big Life continues work to protect this important corridor.


Source: https://africageographic.com/blog/super-tusker-ndawe-dies-spear-wounds/
 
Last edited:

enysse

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Sad way to go. I know a lot of Americans that find the elephant more "holy" than a lion but human conflict and dying by a spear and infection.....:cry::cry::cry:
 

johnnyblues

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Very sad for the old monarch.
 

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:cry::mad:!
 

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What an amazing bull.
 

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"The only consolation is that his tusks have been retrieved. . . "

Saddest part is that if the past is any indication, his tusks will be burned in a bonfire.
 

cagkt3

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Sad news...
 

Redruff

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Damn shameful ending for a great beast!

R.
 

Hank2211

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I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with every poster about this situation.

Here we have an old elephant:

. . . he was darted for treatment once again. Sadly, this time he did not get up. Infection from the wounds, his poor health, and age all contributed, but it was spears that killed him. At an estimated at 55-60 years he was a grand old bull and with his teeth worn down he was right at the end of his life, but this was a sad way to finish it.

He was a grand old bull, yes, but he was old and in poor condition. Note that he had no teeth left. "He was right at the end of his life." This is how elephants die in nature - once they have no teeth left to replace the worn down ones, they will slowly lose condition and eventually die of starvation . . . or become food for lions or hyenas. Neither is an ending I would want for myself, and while nature is what it is, from the elephant's perspective, at least if I was an elephant, I would think that this is a easier death than slow starvation or being eaten alive by predators.

I'm not trying to excuse ivory poachers. They are reprehensible. But this elephant's death was near, so the only question was, was its death, as close as it was, going to be hard or easy. I don't think getting speared would be easy (not as easy as a bullet, which we hunter use all the time), but I would think that almost anything is better than starvation or being eaten alive.

So perhaps it's a good thing that all of this 'medical' intervention didn't help to prolong a life which was only going to result in more suffering.
 

BRICKBURN

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.................... We don’t know why he was speared this first time, it was potentially the result of crop-raiding and conflict with humans.
...........

Since there was a previous incident related to crop raiding and the Ivory was not taken, I would certainly be leaning toward a crop raider being killed.

They saved some maze. Otherwise, zero benefit to the community by killing this Elephant.
 

cagkt3

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I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with every poster about this situation.

Here we have an old elephant:



He was a grand old bull, yes, but he was old and in poor condition. Note that he had no teeth left. "He was right at the end of his life." This is how elephants die in nature - once they have no teeth left to replace the worn down ones, they will slowly lose condition and eventually die of starvation . . . or become food for lions or hyenas. Neither is an ending I would want for myself, and while nature is what it is, from the elephant's perspective, at least if I was an elephant, I would think that this is a easier death than slow starvation or being eaten alive by predators.

I'm not trying to excuse ivory poachers. They are reprehensible. But this elephant's death was near, so the only question was, was its death, as close as it was, going to be hard or easy. I don't think getting speared would be easy (not as easy as a bullet, which we hunter use all the time), but I would think that almost anything is better than starvation or being eaten alive.

So perhaps it's a good thing that all of this 'medical' intervention didn't help to prolong a life which was only going to result in more suffering.

Agree about his condition. My comment was more about the fact that instead of being hunted, he died for "nothing" (I know it's natural for animals to die, just mean he could have had a bigger impact in death). Especially, if as you stated, his tusks are just destroyed. I would have hoped a museum somewhere would have liked to have those in an exhibit somewhere.

Is that really true that something so unique and rare (at least these days) would just be discarded?
 

Royal27

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Is that really true that something so unique and rare (at least these days) would just be discarded?

Several things might happen with the tusks:
  1. Added to government stockpile (most likely short term thing to happen IMO)
  2. Burned during next Kenyan government public spectacle
  3. Sold on the black market at some point in between now and the next burning
What better way to make stolen ivory "disappear" than by a corrupt official saying it was burned?
 

cagkt3

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Several things might happen with the tusks:
  1. Added to government stockpile (most likely short term thing to happen IMO)
  2. Burned during next Kenyan government public spectacle
  3. Sold on the black market at some point in between now and the next burning
What better way to make stolen ivory "disappear" than by a corrupt official saying it was burned?

Lovely....
 

BC.Pat

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Sold on the black market at some point in between now and the next burning
I'm a bit of a pessimist , my money is on this outcome!

teeth worn down he was right at the end of his life

No animal should suffer , but nature does have to run its course.

Pat
 

Nyati

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flatwater bill

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Surprisingly, not much of a social outcry about his killing. 3 spear wounds........... three dentists from Wisconsin?
Probably not.
But much more socially acceptable to die a lingering death at the hands of a poacher, be it poison, spear or snare, that a clean kill by a hunter........FWB
 

enysse

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I personally think this grand animal would have looked nice in a museum some place for the public to see and visit as a taxidermy mount. Maybe it would generate money for wildlife conservation, you never know it could fuel the antis for further protection and even less hunting but lets try to think positive thoughts.
I agree with @BRICKBURN the community won't make any money on this animal only save a little on crops.
 

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Ndawe was the missing link, the proof that we were looking for. We were sure that elephants made the long journey between Tsavo and Amboseli, and he was the confirmation.


Tsavo and Amboseli are only 30 miles or so apart. An easy days journey for an elephant. Hard to believe it is a surprise that elephants travel between the two parks. Researchers these days.........

Magnificent old guy. May his genes remain in the ecosystem for generations to come.
 

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