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One of the world’s largest elephants killed by ivory poachers in Kenya

Image: Richard Moller, Tsavo Trust

Image: Richard Moller, Tsavo Trust

Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Saturday, June 14, 2014, 7:29 PM -

The Tsavo Trust has confirmed that Sateo, Kenya's (and possibly the world's) largest elephant has died after being shot by ivory poachers using poisoned arrows. The 45-year-old elephant was one of the last surviving "great tuskers" and was considered an icon among wildlife activists. 

"The loss of such an iconic elephant is the most visible and heart-rending tip of this iceberg, this tragedy that is unfolding across the continent,” said Frank Pope of Save The Elephants in Nairobi.

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"Satao was shot dead by poisoned arrow on 30th May 2014," according to a statement from Tsavo Trust, a Kenyan non-profit organization that supports wildlife. "We spotted his carcass on 2nd June, but to avoid any potential false alarms, we first took pains to verify the carcass really was his." 

For the last 18 months, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Tsavo Trust jointly monitored Satao’s movements using aerial reconnaissance, and KWS deployed ground personnel in his known home range. But with today’s mounting poaching pressures and anti-poaching resources stretched to the limit, it proved impossible to prevent the poachers getting through the net.

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Satao, second from the rear, in the company of his fellow Tsavo bulls (TSAVO TRUST)

Satao, second from the rear, in the company of his fellow Tsavo bulls (TSAVO TRUST)

Sateo's death further highlights the regions ongoing poaching crises. More than 20,000 elephants were poached last year in Africa where large seizures of smuggled ivory eclipsed those in Asia for the first time, international wildlife regulators said Friday. Eighty per cent of the African seizures were in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, three of the eight nations required to draw up plans to curb ivory smuggling, officials with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) reported.

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On Friday, Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter Chelsea are urging for further action to protect elephants from the devastating ivory trade:

With files from the Associated Press

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