Saturday, 2 October 2010

Ahmed the Elephant

Ahmed might be the most famous animal in Kenya. He was a forest elephant who lived for 55 years--a good, long life for wild, bull elephant--in the Marsabit National Reserve. Marsabit is famous for its extraordinarily large elephants. Ahmed became a symbol for the people of Kenya after independence from Great Britain, making them aware of the importance of both wildlife and ecotourism for their nation's future. Ahmed has magnificent, ivory tusks, as you can see in the old photo of him in the preserve. The people of Kenya became so concerned for Ahmed because of the danger from ivory poachers that many wrote to their first president, Jomo Kenyatta, asking him to protect Ahmed. President Kenyatta assigned two, full-time game wardens to follow Ahmed day and night to guarantee his safety. Everywhere Ahmed roamed, his two guardian angels watched over him!

When Ahmed died of old age in 1974, a death cast of his body was made and the full-sized replica was made and placed in the Kenya National Museum. That is where the title picture was taken. I am 5 feet 2 inches tall and Ahmed towers over me!

Elephants still roam the Marsabit Reserve, wild and free, along with lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinoceros. There are many such reserves here in Kenya. I am going to one this afternoon for the first time, Nairobi National Park. I don't know whether or not I will see elephants today, but I will certainly see lots of big animals. When I do, I will think of Ahmed and the what a gift he was to all of us.

1 comment:

  1. the story of ahmed used to sound as a fairy tale until i decided to visit the museum and wow!!he was so big!!