One of Africa’s last giant tusker elephants has been killed by poachers who reportedly felled the beast with a poison arrow, conservationists said.
Satao II, who was said to be around 50 years old, was shot while feeding near the edge of Tsavo national park, Kenya, in late 2016, according to the Tsavo Trust.
The carcass was found on January 4 during a routine aerial search before its ivory, some 100kg, could be stripped.
Two weeks later Kenyan Wildlife Service rangers arrested two “notorious” poachers, recovering one AK47 along with 12 poison arrows and three bows, the Trust said.
They added the gang, believed to be responsible for three other recent elephant deaths in the area, had been “broken for ever”.
It is estimated there are as few as 25 African giant tuskers left in the wild, with around 10 of them in the 25,000 sq km Kenyan park.
They are named because of their huge, rare tusks which brush the ground as they move.
The Tsavo Trust said: “Although this is a very sad loss in every way, we can take some positive from this.
“Satao II’s carcass was indeed found with the ivory intact and recovered before it could fall into the wrong hands and further fuel the illegal ivory market.”
African elephants have seen numbers tumble by more than 100,000 in the last decade because of a surge in poaching to supply the illegal global trade in ivory countries such as China, Thailand and Vietnam.