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A Blow to Conservation - Poachers Kill Iconic Elephant

May 16, 2014

Northern Kenya Mourns the Death of Mountain Bull, its Most Famous Animal. 

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is deeply saddened to announce the death of Mountain Bull (MT Bull), the enigmatic elephant bull whose dedication to using the traditional elephant migration routes in northern Kenya captured the imagination of many and led to numerous conservation initiatives. 

The 46-year-old elephant had been fitted with a GPS-GSM enabled collar by Save The Elephants, enabling him to be tracked as he traversed the Samburu, Lewa, Ngare Ndare and Mount Kenya landscapes. A few days ago, renowned conservationist and Lewa's co-founder Ian Craig noticed that the elephant had been immobile - his collar had not emitted any signal from the last reported position in Mount Kenya. This raised an alarm and a search team from Lewa and the Mount Kenya Trust was launched. His carcass was discovered on the 15th of May, at 4:30 pm in the Mount Kenya Forest. The carcass had visible spear wounds and missing tusks. It is estimated that Mountain Bull had been poached eight days before. 

No other animal has had greater impact on wildlife conservation in northern Kenya than Mountain Bull. Many credit him as the force behind the construction of the pioneering Lewa/Ngare Ndare Forest/Mount Kenya elephant corridor that links the forest ecosystem of Mount Kenya with the savannah ecosystems of Lewa and Samburu plains further to the north. This has led to the opening up of the traditional migration route of over 2,000 African elephants that had previously been blocked by human development in Mount Kenya.

The ground-breaking establishment of this corridor also led to Kenya's most recent World Heritage Site inscription when in June of 2013, Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest were extended to be part of the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site. 

Mountain Bull was often involved in cases of human-elephant conflict, opening gates and raiding farms that lie on these elephant routes, highlighting the issue of human-wildlife conflict in the country and enabling conservationists to develop mitigation strategies. 

Mountain Bull's death is a great loss to the conservation fraternity. He taught us much about elephant and animal behaviour, migration routes and patterns, and to a large extent, left many inspired by his bravery and resilience. 

Rest in peace Mountain Bull.