Tim dies at 50 years in Amboseli National Park on Tuesday, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). He died of natural causes.
The animal’s body will be sent to a taxidermist in Nairobi so that it can go on display, KWS said in a statement.
African elephants are referred as “Tuskers” when their tusks grow so long that they reach the ground.
KWS said Tim was “well known and loved throughout the World”.
Tim’s tusks were said to weigh more than 50kg (100lbs) each.
He was well-known in the area due to his crop-raiding habits. During his lifetime, he was speared three times.
In an effort to keep him safe and protect locals’ crops, a team comprised of animal protection groups and KWS placed a collar on him. They were able to monitor him more closely and send a team to try and stop his crop raiding habit.
Once the team knew he was approaching crops, they would attempt to intercept him, although he quickly learnt to bypass them.
‘Tim was mischievous’
During the first year, he made 183 attempts to enter farmlands and raid crops.
The monitoring team were able to stop around 50% of these from going any further, Save the Elephants said.
In February last year, Tim nearly died after he became trapped in a muddy swamp. However was later rescued by KWS and animal protection groups.
Former Save the Elephants field assistant Ryan Wilkie said: “Tim was a special elephant – not just to me but to hundreds, thousands of people who would flock to Amboseli just for the chance to see him.
“He was so incredibly intelligent, mischievous, yes, but also a truly gentle giant and in that way a real ambassador for his species.”
Tributes to the elephant poured in social media from all over the world. Tourists from far and wide who had met Tim at the Amboseli Park were not left behind. “Kenya has lost one of its great treasures today. Our hearts are heavy as we remember Tim a magnificnt elephant who we grew to know and love”, Said Lisa Cressey on her Instagram.
“He was a wonderful elephant, and an ambassador for his species. We will miss him but we also hope that his legend lives on and he continues to inspire people to protect elephants. He has fathered many calves too, and we are happy he got to live a long life in the wild,” a wildlife enthusiast said on Twitter.
Tim Dies at 5o in Amboseli, we will miss him, he will be missed allover the world, tweeted Incredible Kenya Adventures CEO
CEO Wildlife Direct Paula Kahumbu who has known Tim for over a decade described him as “the magnificent bull of the Amboseli”.
Dr Kahumbu said Tim was one of the last remaining great tuskers in Kenya, a term used to describe African male elephants with long tusks.
“The great tuskers are an irreplaceable symbol of our continent’s unique natural heritage. But their magnificent tusks act like a magnet for poachers (and in some countries still for trophy hunters) and means that these elephants are constantly at risk,” said Dr Kahumbu“When we first met Tim he had a very severe wound on the back and was limping. He had been speared by some locals. And even then he was very friendly,” she said.
Tim dies at 50 in Amboseli, She added that when Tim was well and on his feet again, the board at Wildlife Direct decided to protect him and use him to protect other super tuskers of the Amboseli.
Fear of poaching forced KWS and conservationists to collar the animal in 2016.
The collaring of Tim in 2016 by a group of conservationist groups including Save the Elephants, Big Life, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, KWS and the community has played an instrumental role in saving the rest of his herd at the park from poachers as the rangers always knew his whereabouts and those accompanying him.
KWS and Big Life Foundation Rangers provided Tim 24 hour surveillance and protection.
In 2018, the animal nearly died at the park when it got stuck on a deep mud for several hours before the rangers came to its rescue.
She added: “As a huge male, Tim secured many mating [sessions] with the females and so we are certain that he’s a baby daddy to many little ones in Amboseli. The gene for super-tusker has been passed on many times.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken that Tim is no more. But I’m also proud that he died of natural causes, that our work did create awareness of this giant in Kenya and around the world.
I’m sad we never got to host the Elephant Naming ceremony with President Uhuru Kenyatta – an event that we hoped would give our elephants Kenyan names and create much more awareness about our pride and heritage. I’m sad that we were unable to persuade others that we should be celebrating and naming our elephants as a nation,” he added.
The giant tusker was named ‘Tim’ by Cynthia Moss, founder of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, as part of what has become the world’s longest running scientific study of the species.
The elephants name indicates that he is a member of the “T family”.
Since its birth in December in 1969 by an elephant cow named Trista, Tim has been closely monitored by the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.
His grandmother Teresia, was the matriarch and leader of Amboseli’s TD family.
Justus Nyamu, the director of Elephant Neighbours Centre, termed Tim’s death as a huge loss for the park and the conservation and tourism sector. Tim Dies at 50 in Amboseli Rest well buddy!!