A beloved, venerable African elephant named Torn Ear was killed in Kenya on February 7 by poachers who shot him with poisoned arrows. Richard Bonham discovered Torn Ear’s fatal injury while observing him at a watering hole.
Bonham is the co-founder and the African operations director of the wildlife conservation organization, Big Life Foundation. He noticed that the elephant was walking with an irregular gait, and then he saw two wounds behind Torn Ear’s rib cage.
A veterinarian was summoned, and Torn Ear was darted with a tranquilizing drug. It was clear upon examination, Bonham said, that “the arrows had penetrated into the abdominal cavity, and peritonitis had set in, which meant that there was no hope for survival.” So Torn Ear was euthanized.
In a blog post the next day Bonham wrote:
“Yesterday we lost an iconic elephant, one of the few left on the continent whose tusks pass the 100 pound mark. I also think of him as a friend of 20 years. Emotions are running deep, as we failed in our mission to protect him. But the greatest sadness is the reality that Torn Ear was probably one of a hundred or so elephant that died just yesterday to feed the ivory trade.”
-via National Geographic