Someone Tried To Stab One Of Kenya's Oldest Elephants
More than a week ago, Tim, one of the oldest elephants in Kenya, found himself in danger yet again.
The impressive bull is also known as one of the largest elephants in his territory at Amboseli National Park. He's blessed with equally massive tusks - which unfortunately make him a prime target for poachers. As a result, wildlife rangers keep a special eye on Tim, but even they're not infallible.
"I was excited to see him," David Bates, a conservationist, told Daily Nation. "But then, as he drew closer to us, we realized that something was wrong."
The 47-year-old elephant knew he needed help and went to where he would be able to get it. Bates and his team were the ones to spot the injured elephant when he came close to their camp.
Bates was immediately worried that the spear might have been poisoned and contacted the Kenya Wildlife Service, which sent a veterinarian out to treat Tim.
"To all our relief, the spear wasn't poisoned, and had gone through the ear and merely scratched the skin underneath," Big Life Foundation wrote on Facebook. "Within five minutes, Tim was up and heading back to the swamps in the middle of Amboseli."
Yesterday, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants posted a Facebook update on Tim's condition, confirming that the elephant is fine, and stating that he was attacked with a spear that "youngsters" use. Bates told Daily Nation that he believes Tim might have gotten into a conflict with local farmers.
"We don't know what the circumstances were that initiated the attack," Amboseli Trust wrote. "We do know that outside of Amboseli National Park there are serious challenges for human-elephant coexistence ... Today there is rapidly expanding agriculture into elephant range. Farmers cannot live with elephants. They have to be separated."
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Tim has been attacked. In 2014, he suffered from another spear wound that had become infected. Thankfully, he recovered from the ordeal.
Amboseli Trust went on to to say that fencing in the savannah may be the only practical solution to protect elephants like Tim from getting involved with locals.
As for Tim specifically - keeping him and his legacy alive continues to be a priority. "Tim has become one of Amboseli's iconic bulls," Amboseli Trust wrote after his attack in 2014. "Over the years he has grown into a magnificent bull, but we love him as much for his gentle personality as his good looks."
Interested in keeping elephants like Tim safe from poachers and other forms of human conflict? Consider making a donation to the Big Life Foundation's elephant fence project here.
Watch this video about an elephant named Pretty Boy who was shot in the head and knew exactly whom to ask for help: