Tim is Amboseli’s greatest elephant – the biggest tusker in the ecosystem and a huge contributor to safari tourism revenue. Because of the size of Tim’s tusks, rangers keep an extra eye on his whereabouts and always ensure that a team is near him for security and conflict mitigation. Info provided by Big Life Foundation
Last week, a call came through that Tim had run the narrow gauntlet through the Kimana Corridor, a critical area becoming increasingly constricted – down to less than just 1km in places – by agriculture and development, into Sidai ‘Oleng Conservancy. Tim was spotted towards sundown the following day with a piece of metal sticking out from his left ear at right angles.
Calls reverberated around the ecosystem. At first light, the next day, Big Life, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) units, and Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) research staff initiated searches throughout the corridor area and aerial surveillance was deployed.
After three hours, Tim was spotted from the air. Thanks to the fantastic response of everyone involved – along with Big Life, ATE, KWS, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Tawi Lodge – enough manpower and vehicles were on hand to quickly and safely roll Tim onto his correct side for treatment.
To great relief, the spear wasn’t poisoned, and had gone through the ear and merely scratched the skin underneath. Within five minutes, Tim was up and heading back to the swamps in the middle of Amboseli. For now, Tim is safe.
However, this clearly illustrates that the Kimana Corridor has become an increasingly high-pressure area.
A couple of weeks ago, an appeal was launched for funding a 40km fence – a life-saving line of protection – along the edge of the farmland to keep the elephants and man separated and safe from one another. This, along with land leasing, is critical to the future survival of Tim, the other elephants, and the Amboseli ecosystem.
Subsequent note: Tim died from natural causes in February 2020
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