Mountain Bull, according to human standards was a problem animal, snapping fences and feeding happily on crops grown by small scale farmers whose very lives depend on the food they reap. The animal/human conflict causes resentment that snarls and growls as farmers find the evidence of their destroyed livelihood.
Finger like lobes adorn the end of his large muscular trunk which swings back and forth like a heavy pendulum and with his enormous ears fanning the breeze, he is the picture of perfection. Creamy tusks protrude like scythes and his noble head is held high as he fades into the early shadows of the golden sunset painting the sky. Fence breaking and crop raiding is one his crimes.
Mountain Bull had become the ‘face’ of Save the Elephants charity after he was fitted with a GPS tracking device. One of headlines back in 2008 was GPS saves elephants from slaughter. A sigh of relief as Mountain Bull lives to welcome another golden sunrise.
The underpass that links the forest of Mt. Kenya to the savannah ecosystem of Lewa and Sambuni plains to the north was opened at the end of January in 2011 and was a magical solution to the continual animal/human conflict as elephants marched along the corridor along their old migratory routes for the first time in many years.
In October 2012, Mountain Bull was darted and while he lay dreaming in an anesthetic hazy slumber, his massive perfectly formed creamy tusks were partially removed. This six ton beauty had 22 ks of formidable weaponry removed in the hope of ensuring that his fence breaking days would become a crime of the past. Once the reversal drug had been give, Mountain bull lurched out of dreamland and wobbled his way into the deep shadows before being swallowed by the dense bush. Reports were then given that Mountain Bull was behaving himself.
In the last ten days, Mountain Bull’s GPS – GSM enabled collar had stopped tracking his movements which was most unusual for this middle aged legend. A search party of Rangers was immediately dispatched.
There had been no ‘kkkkk’ from an automatic weapon. Death had crept up on him silently: spears held high before thrusting into the elephant. The pain and torment had overcome this majestic animal leaving him helpless. He had been killed within the safety of the Mt. Kenya National Park and his personal treasure of ivory had been butchered from his face. The skies, a silent witness to his lonely death and the carnage left behind. Mountain Bull’s tusks have since been found stuffed down an ant bear hole. A sad waste of a life of this middle aged bull who still had much information to pass onto younger bachelors.
Like elephant lovers the world over I was heart sore and angry to read about ‘Mountain Bulls’ death. I had over the years admired the tenacity of this wily middle aged pachyderm. Me getting emotional? Yes, you damn right I am. With the current trend in poaching these wonderful creatures, each and every death is tragic and a reminder that we cannot afford to lose more elephants. Please read my poem… ODE TO MOUNTAIN BULL
This is a sad reflection on how fragile their existence is. Please let us support our Rangers in this fight against poaching and corruption.
Kruger National Park in South Africa has in the last week had it’s first elephant poaching incident in 10 years which is not good news coming back to back with the alarming amount of rhinos slaughtered this year.
Rory Young has formed an alliance with Jacob Alekseyev, an American living in Zambia. Alekseyev is a former Major and Federal Agent of the US Air Force, Office of Special Investigations. Together they have worked out a plan of action to stop poaching in the Zambezi River Valley.
Chengeta Wildlife offer first class training to rangers on the ground. Let us help them to help the rangers on the ground to keep our Zambezi Valley safe.