Kenya’s biggest elephant killed by poachers, an Open Letter by Paula Kahumbu

Posted June 14, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 8,333 views



By Paula Kahumbu Former Chief Executive Officer at Wildlife Direct

June 14, 2014 at 10:12am

“It is 4 am and I have been sitting at my computer for hours. I just can’t sleep after hearing the terrible news that Satao, the world’s biggest elephant, is dead. Satao lived in Tsavo East National park in northern Kenya and was celebrated as one of the last surviving great tuskers, bearers of genes that produce bull elephants with huge tusks reaching down to the ground. This news follows hard on the heels of the slaughter of another legendary tusker, Mountain Bull, deep inside the forests of Mt. Kenya .

Paula_KahumbaOf all the elephants that have died in Kenya, these deaths are the hardest to bear. The grief in Kenya at the slaughter of our iconic elephants is translating into floods of tears, emotional poems, and outrage on Twitter and Facebook.

I had suspected for days that Satao was dead. The rumours were too many and they came from too many different people for them not to be true. Bad news travels fast in Kenya. Moreover, like everyone who had ever heard of Satao, I was already concerned for his safety.”

See the full report at this link:

Letter to Margaret Kenyatta, the First Lady of Kenya, June 2014

PLEASE SEND THIS LETTER TO MARGARET KENYATTA, the First Lady of Kenya. You may mail it of course, but if you live out of country, you may also send it by e-mail to Paula Kahumbu at She resides in Kenya and will copy your letter and send it to Mrs. Kenyatta from there.

Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, State House, Gate D | Office of the First Lady ~ P.O Box 40530-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Your Excellency,

By now you have heard that one of the Kenya’s greatest elephant icons, Satao, is dead. Satao lived in Tsavo East National Park and he was slain by a poisoned arrow. Less than a month ago another icon, Mountain Bull, was gunned down in Mount Kenya.  I am sure that you share my deep sorrow, words cannot describe how devastated I feel about what his happening to our elephants.

Alongside poaching, Kenya is also renowned as a hub for the transiting of ivory and CITES have just revealed that 80% of the ivory exiting Africa is passing through Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and that Mombasa is now the world’s most active port for transiting of ivory[1].

I appreciate the great efforts that are being made by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural resources through the enactment of new legislation, the Kenya Wildlife Service on anti-poaching, the Police on making seizures. The consequences for poachers and traffickers are beginning to emerge as the Judiciary and the state prosecutors implement reforms in the legal sector. In addition I am thankful for the allocation of KES 1.8 billion for anti-poaching in next year’s budget. And civil society is working hard to support all of these efforts.

However, Kenya still treats these crimes as wildlife offences, when in fact there is ample evidence that these are organized crimes, international crimes, and economic crimes. The poachers and traffickers will continue to win and we will still lose all of our elephants and rhinos unless Kenya adopts a national strategy to robustly combat wildlife crime as international crimes and organized crimes. We must be smarter and more effective than the perpetrators of these crimes if we are to win.

Your Excellency, Kenya won before and we can do it again.

This letter is an appeal to you to take three important actions that will transform our performance and success in this war against the criminals who threaten our heritage, our economy and our security

  1. Speak out boldly about this crisis and its impact on our heritage, our economy and our security at the UNEP Governing Assembly this month so that the worlds leaders witness your determination to end the crisis. Appeal for international support towards immediately ending all forms of trade in ivory in order to kill the demand.
  2. Appeal to Kenyans to help. Use your office to provide transparency and accountability that Kenyans are asking for on poaching, ivory seizures and stocks, arrests and prosecutions. Invite Kenyans to help you; Kenyans can raise funds, report crimes and protect elephant habitats and corridors.
  3. Announce that you will lead the creation of a National Strategy to Combat International Wildlife Crime and enlist the support of law enforcement experts, as well as non-state actors and experts to help you craft effective strategic interventions on legislation, law enforcement, compliance, accountability, outreach and international cooperation.

Your Excellency, we support you and your leadership on this issue and we know that your voice is the most powerful one in the room right now. As the only First Lady in Africa you have already attracted enormous attention and interest. We now look forward to supporting actions that will save our elephants and other endangered species.

Kind Regards


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About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.



    So sad for us East Africans. God help us.

    Wam Dennler

    All the best. We truly hope that this
    simple but urgent
    message finally
    gets taken
    only the nation, are
    counting on you… Please
    make it happen….yes you can.

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