Kenya plans to build Sh47 million monument for Big Tim

Big Tim was one of Africa's last giant tuskers.

A past photo of Big Tim. Courtesy Ryan Wilkie

The Kenya Wildlife Service has requested money from the Ministry of Tourism to build a monument in honour of the late Big Tim, a beloved elephant who was one of Africa's last giant tuskers.

The Tim memorial would be built in the Amboseli National Park, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala told the National Assembly's Finance committee.

CS Balala had been invited to answer questions regarding the utilization of the Tourism Promotion Fund (TPF).

We have received a funding request of Sh46.5 million from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for the establishment of Elephant Tim Monument. The request is under consideration for disbursement by the Tourism Promotion Fund (TPF),” he said.

The giant elephant who roamed the Amboseli National Park in Kenya belonged to a clade of impressive pachyderms (meaning thick-skinned animals) whose genes produce enormous tusks.

Tim died in 2020 from a twisted belly, and the only traces on his body were the marks left by another elephant, who likely attempted to bring the enormous tusker back to his feet.

The animal’s body was moved to the National Museum in Nairobi for exhibition and education purposes.

The elephant was said to be 50 years old and had outlived its kin.

Tim lost three relatives to suspected poaching, followed by his mother Trista, who was speared to death by poachers in 1978 when he (Tim) was just eight years old. His sister Tallulah was speared in 2003.

In his last five years, the tusker was speared three times by angry farmers during his routine night-time raids into nearby farmlands.

In 2014, he was seen limping around the park after being speared in the rump and the wound became infected.

Fortunately, the veterinarians filled the wound with green clay, which has antibacterial characteristics, and he quickly healed.

In East Africa, elephant populations have nearly reduced by half in a decade. 70 per cent of the estimated remaining African elephants are in southern Africa.

According to the most recent wildlife census, Kenya has 36,280 elephants as of October.

According to the data, the country has 897 black rhinos, 842 white rhinos, two northern rhinos, 2,589 lions, 5,189 hyenas, and 1,160 cheetahs.

There were 41,659 buffalo, 13,530 Maasai giraffes, 121,911 common zebras, 2,649 Grevy's zebras, and 57,813 wildebeest among the other iconic species.

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