Illegal hunting is one of the greatest risks to ecosystems and despite the best efforts of conservationists and authorities poachers have just struck again.
Rangers in Kenya's Tsavo Park found the carcass of Satao II, a 50 year-old Giant Elephant who was one of only 7 left in the world.
Satao II was known as a "Super-tusker" which is a term that refers to elephants with giant tusks. The tusks are made of ivory, which makes them a prime target for poachers. Two suspected poachers were quickly apprehended after the carcass was found thanks to park rangers.
The internet reacted with outrage and grief at news of the poaching.
Giant elephant Satao 2 is poached and killed in Tsavo, Kenya. This leaves just 6 super tuskers left in the world! Deeply upsetting news... pic.twitter.com/NXkIRpa9zA— Richard Symonds (@richwildart) March 6, 2017
The last known price of ivory was about $500 per pound. A super-tusker could have tusks upwards of 40lbs or more.
Over the past decade the elephant population has fallen to just over 400,000, with Giant Elephants being the most endangered. Satao II was named for a legendary Giant Elephant called Satao who was himself killed by poachers in 2014.
Tsavo Park has tried in vain to prevent poaching on its grounds. It is over 16,000 square miles making it very difficult to patrol. Even when they do catch poachers in the act confrontations are dangerous. Last month 2 rangers were killed while trying to fend off poachers.