In the first week of February the news of the dead of the iconic elephant named Tim filled the social media. Tim passed away due to natural cause on the age of around 50. Sad news, but luckily this majestic “tusker” did not die caused by a poacher or some trophy hunter. His life has been long and enjoyable as it could be for an elephant of this size. Off course he had also his problems with the surrounding farmers as he developed a taste for crops instead of the usual diet. But protected by rangers it kept on going for a long life.
So what was Tim to us? When we visited Amboseli for the first time, everybody told us about Tim. By far one of the elephants with the largest tusks. But also not always in the neighborhood or found. Our guide was in daily contact with the rangers to know if he was somewhere reachable for us to go see him.
Finally after some six days, just before we had to leave, a message came in. Tim was seen outside on the other side of the park. We went out of the park and drove to where he and his companions where seen. Quickly we saw a few Masai with motorcycles and mothers with children waiting along a path. Tim was further up along the side of the road. We moved up close to him and his companion Craig and his nephew Townsend. We were amazed. Never seen such a so called “big tusker”. It looked like we met the relative of extinct mammoth, which in fact it is. He was gentle and gave as good opportunities to photograph and film him. His age gave him the attitude of an elephant who has seen it all and is not to disturb anymore. To be close with such a big and wise animal is a feeling you can’t exactly describe. But it makes you feel small and insignificant.
When we look back on our images and footage of this giant after his passing, we feel blessed to have experienced and met him. It also gives us a deep regret that mankind is killing these giants in great numbers for their ivory and skin. Without the protection Kenya is giving in Amboseli this elephant would not have survived the poaching for trophy and ivory lovers. And that is the real disgrace we have to live with! If only the mindset of humans could change.