Satao was some 50 years old when he was butchered by poachers. At more than 50 pounds apiece and more than 6 feet long, his tusks were said to be some of the largest in the world.
Wildlife filmmaker Mark Deeble filmed Satao a year before his death. In his astonishingly beautiful blog, Deeble wrote about the tusker and the stories that surrounded him: "He was living on a community ranch, notorious for its gangs of armed Somalis that poach elephants. According to our source, the huge bull hid in very thick bush during the day - only emerging to feed when it was dark."
When Deeble finally did film Satao at a Kenyan watering hole, he referred to it as a "mirage." "Other elephants stood sleeping, clustered in the shade of acacias, apparently unaware of the bull's approach. He didn't walk straight to water. It took him almost an hour to cover the final kilometer as he slowly zig-zagged from one bush to another. The glint I'd seen, came whenever he turned his head and appeared to bury it in a bush. Each time he did, he'd wait a few minutes, partially hidden, then continue zig-zagging upwind, scenting the air, to check there wasn't a poacher hidden at the waterhole."
But Deeble further describes the indelible and ironic impression Satao's behavior made upon him.
"I was mystified at the bull's poor attempt to hide – until it dawned on me that he wasn't trying to hide his body, he was hiding his tusks. At once, I was incredibly impressed, and incredibly sad - impressed that he should have the understanding that his tusks could put him in danger, but so sad at what that meant."