Miracle Recovery: Rescuing Kenya’s Beloved ‘Big Tusker’ Elephant, Wide Satao, from a Poisoned Dart

In a heartwarming tale of resilience and conservation efforts, Wide Satao, a magnificent ‘big tusker’ elephant, defied the odds and survived after being struck by a poacher’s deadly poisoned arrow in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

The urgent race to save this gentle giant began when medics rushed to the scene to treat Wide Satao, knowing that without immediate intervention, the poison would claim his life within 48 hours.

A huge elephant has miraculously recovered after being felled with a single poacher’s poisoned arrow in a Kenyan park.

Being a ‘big tusker,’ Wide Satao was an elephant with tusks over 40 years old, making him a prime target for poachers seeking to profit from the valuable ivory market. The estimated worth of each of his tusks was staggering, at over $130,000 (£85,000).

British photographers Victoria Peckett (45) and Philip Ladmore (50) captured the dramatic images of the ailing elephant.

Medics had to race against the clock to save the gentle giant, named Wide Satao after it was hit by a poisoned dart in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya.

Thankfully, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service came to his aid. The rescue mission involved sedating Wide Satao with a dart, cleaning his wound, and administering a vital dose of antibiotics.

Philip Ladmore, a company director from Middlesex, England, recounted the emotional experience: “As we approached Wide Satao, we noticed the poacher’s poisoned arrow lodged in his side.

After relocating him with the help of a plane, we waited for the vet to arrive and carry out the operation to remove the dart, clean the wound, and bring him back to consciousness. We witnessed him struggling to stand, but eventually, he rejoined his group of male elephants.”

Miracle Recovery Rescuing Kenya's Beloved 'big Tusker' Elephant, Wide Satao, From A Poisoned Dart

The significance of this rescue extends beyond the individual elephant, highlighting the dire plight of African elephants as a whole.

Shockingly, between 2011 and 2014, an estimated 100,000 elephants fell victim to poaching for their ivory across the continent, with demand predominantly driven by Asian markets, particularly China, where a kilo of ivory could fetch up to $3,000.

Wide Satao’s tusks, weighing over 100 pounds each, are highly coveted on the illegal ivory trade market, contributing to the decline of big tuskers like him.

Miracle Recovery Rescuing Kenya's Beloved 'big Tusker' Elephant, Wide Satao, From A Poisoned Dart 1
The poisoned arrow is slowly removed from the elephant after sedating the giant beast. If left untreated, the poison would have killed the giant bull elephant within 48 hours.

While the challenges of elephant conservation persist, Wide Satao’s remarkable recovery stands as a testament to the importance of wildlife protection efforts.

His survival offers hope that through collective action and dedication, we can safeguard these majestic creatures for future generations to marvel at.

The medics work quickly before the giant creature regains consciousness. The groups who treated the gentle beast were the conservation group Tsavo Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Wide Satao is a ‘big tusker’ – a term used to describe elephants with tusks aged over 40 years, targeted for their valuable ivory – with each tusk estimated to be worth over $130,000.
Wide Satao regains consciousness after his life-saving operation. British husband and wife photography team Victoria Peckett, 45, and Philip Ladmore, 50, took the dramatic pictures.
The illegal poaching trade is fuelled by demand in Asia, in particular China – where one kilo of ivory can fetch up to $3,000. Mr. Ladmore revealed that ivory from big tuskers such as Wide Satao is highly prized because of its incredible weight.
Wide Satao was sedated with a dart, had its wound cleaned, and was given a large dose of antibiotics – but was back up on his feet to fight another day.

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FAQ about elephants

How much does an elephant weigh?

How Much Does An Elephant Weigh Daily Bb News

Elephants, the largest land animals, vary in weight by species and age. African elephants can weigh between 5,000 to 14,000 pounds (2,268 to 6,350 kilograms), with males generally heavier than females. Asian elephants are smaller, with males weighing 4,500 to 11,000 pounds (2,041 to 4,990 kilograms) and females between 3,000 to 6,000 pounds (1,361 to 2,722 kilograms).

How long are elephants pregnant?

How Long Are Elephants Pregnant Daily Bb News

Elephants have one of the longest gestation periods among mammals, lasting between 18 to 22 months. African elephants typically have a gestation period of about 22 months, while Asian elephants are pregnant for about 18 to 22 months. This lengthy pregnancy allows the calf to develop fully, ensuring it is relatively mature and can walk soon after birth.

How long do elephants live?

How Long Do Elephants Live Daily Bb News

Elephants are known for their long lifespans. In the wild, African elephants typically live between 60 to 70 years, while Asian elephants have a lifespan of about 48 to 60 years. In captivity, elephants may live longer due to regular veterinary care and the absence of predators, although their longevity can vary based on living conditions.

What do elephants eat?

What Do Elephants Eat Daily Bb News

Elephants are herbivores and primarily eat plant-based foods. Their diet includes grasses, leaves, bark, fruits, and roots. African elephants tend to consume more grass, while Asian elephants eat more woody plants. An adult elephant can eat up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of food each day.

Where do elephants live?

Where Do Elephants Live Daily Bb News

Elephants live in various habitats across Africa and Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, African elephants inhabit savannas, forests, deserts, and marshes, including countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and South Africa. Asian elephants are found in forests, grasslands, and scrublands across 13 South and Southeast Asian countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Indonesia. Their habitats range from dense tropical forests to open grasslands, depending on the availability of food and water.

Are elephants afraid of mice?

Are Elephants Afraid Of Mice Daily Bb News

The idea that elephants are afraid of mice is a popular myth with no scientific backing. Elephants have poor eyesight, making it unlikely they would even notice a small mouse. Any reactions to sudden movements are more likely due to surprise rather than fear of the mouse. Elephants are primarily concerned with larger threats, such as predators or humans.

Are elephants endangered?

Are Elephants Endangered Daily Bb News

Elephants are considered endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists African elephants as vulnerable, while forest elephants, a subspecies, are critically endangered. Asian elephants are classified as endangered. Major threats include habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and poaching for ivory.

Do female elephants have tusks?

Do Female Elephants Have Tusks Daily Bb News

In African elephants, both males and females typically have tusks. In contrast, in Asian elephants, only some males have tusks, while females usually do not. Female Asian elephants may have small tusk-like structures called tushes, often not visible outside the mouth.