Publication Date



"Ahmed", the logo of the Elephant Interest Group, was a male African elephant (Loxodonta africana) that was born about 1919, possibly in the vicinity of Marsabit National Reserve, Kenya, East Africa. The name "Ahmed" is of Arabic origin (pronounced "Ah-med"), and it means "praised." At the age of 55 Ahmed was about 3 m (10 ft) tall at the shoulder and weighed approximately 5 metric tons (about 11,000 lbs.). He had huge tusks for his size, measuring about 3 m (10 ft) each and averaging about 70 kg (150 lbs) each. Ahmed's 300 pounds of ivory attracted hunters and, as a result, raised major concern for his safety among scientists and the general public. A total of 5,000 letters and cards was delivered to the East African Wildlife Society and resulted in a Presidential Decree issued by the late President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to protect Ahmed. In addition, a team of human soldiers was assigned to watch his whereabouts around the clock. On January 17, 1974 Ahmed died, probably of natural causes, and his carcass was found almost two days later near Lake Paradise, in the Reserve. The skin was already in an advanced stage of decomposition. Ahmed was dissected on the spot by a team from the "Zimmermann (1973) Limited Taxidermist," headed by Wolfgang Schenk, and the skeleton was transported to Nairobi, the capital, where it was prepared and mounted by J.C. Hillman. A fiberglas replica of the skin was made by Zimmermann's team. The entire operation lasted two years and cost Kenyan Shillings 143,086 (about US $14,500). Both the skeleton and the replica are now on display at the National Museum of Kenya (NMK) in Nairobi. Ahmed is Kenya's most celebrated elephant; he was and still is regarded as a national monument and remains the symbol of conservation. The NMK and the Kenyan Government should be commended for their tremendous efforts in preserving the remains of Ahmed.

Recommended Citation

Shoshani, J., Hillman, J. C., & Walcek, J. M. (1987). "Ahmed", The Logo of the Elephant Interest Group: Encounters in Marsabit and Notes on His Model and Skeleton. Elephant, 2(3), 7-32. Doi: 10.22237/elephant/1521732090