Mshale has been very popular amongst rangers and tourists in Tsavo National Park, Kenya, due to his impressive look and calm demeanour. Unlike other wild animals, Mshale requires some special attention and protection from foundations fighting the illegal poaching war. In fact, since 2011, 1,500 elephants have been killed in the area due to illegal wildlife crime. Therefore there is an urgent need for elephants to be tracked and surveilled, and for poachers to be located and arrested.
Unfortunately, Mshale has been a very attractive target for poachers in the area due to his large tusks weighing 100 pounds each (and with an appropriate market value over $16,000 per tusk), he has fell victim to four poisoned dart attacks in 2016. Luckily and surprisingly he managed to survive each one of them. The first time when Mshale was wounded, he was found by rangers and brought to a vet nearby. By the fourth attempt, Mshale dragged his body back to the same vet, where he knew he would find help.
In a combined effort and through the support of Elephant Gin, Big Life Foundation is able to fly surveillance across the Tsavo National Park and send its 260 rangers across the country to continue fighting the illegal wildlife crime.
The ultimate goal is to save the African elephants like Mshale from extinction. In fact, if poaching continues at current rate, the African elephant could face extinction in less than 15 years.
Photo credit: Matthew Durrel