Kenya’s ‘Tim’ the Great Patriarch of Amboseli National Park Dies

Amboseli National Park’s Super Tusker 'Tim’ Dead at 50

Tim, PHOTO: Courtesy

  • Tim was one of the world’s biggest tuskers. He called Amboseli Home
  • He  lived a nomadic life

Tim, an icon of Amboseli National Park and one of Africa’s largest and most magnificent elephants is dead.

Cynthia Moss Founder and Director of Amboseli Elephant Trust announced that “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our famous Amboseli elephant, Tim. He died at the age of 50 years old from natural causes.”

According to Cynthia, Tim was an iconic large male, whose fame catalyzed many conservation collaborations between KWS and conservation organizations. He captured the hearts of people around the world, who would travel to Amboseli to photograph him. He was a wonderful elephant and an ambassador for his species.

Paul Udoto, Director General Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the celebrated elephant died Tuesday morning (February 4, 2020) in Madea area of Amboseli.

“The park management visited the scene and secured the body. The body is on the way to National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi for a taxidermist to prepare the body for preservation for education and exhibition purposes,” said Udoto.

KWS says, Tim was was the ‘great patriarch of Amboseli National Park. A benevolent, slow-moving preserver of the peace at Amboseli, he was well known and loved throughout Kenya, “Big Tim is one of Africa’s last big tusker elephants that roam in a vast, remote wilderness of Southern Kenya.”

“An unassuming matriarch that was always unusually welcomed by females and their families.”

Tim and Tolstoy Elephants walking in Africa
Tim and Tolstoy Elephants walking in Africa

In 2019, Big Life Foundation said Tim lost most of his family to poachers. “Within his first few years of life, he lost three of his relatives to suspected poaching incidents, followed by his mother Trista, who was speared to death by poachers when he was only 8. He would continue to lose more family members as time passed, including his sister Tallulah, speared in 2003.”

CEO Wildlife Direct Paula Kahumbu said “The great tuskers are an irreplaceable symbol of our continent’s unique natural heritage. But their magnificent tusks act like a magnet for poachers (and in some countries still for trophy hunters) and means that these elephants are constantly at risk.”


“Tim has since come to represent all of the different values, positive and negative, that humans place on an elephant’s life. To poachers he is a target, to farmers he is a costly nuisance, to tourists he is a marvel, and to conservationists, he is a symbol of hope that our efforts are working,” Big Life Foundation.

The Amboseli Trust for Elephants, has documented Tim’s life since he was 2 years old.