Google is honoring the first mammoth elephant to be protected under a presidential order in Kenya with a doodle on Wednesday.
The elephant, Ahmed, was born in 1919 in the forests of Mount Marsabit in Kenya and came to attention in the 1960s when he was spotted by hikers in the mountains of northern Kenya. They called him “King of Marsabit”.
The explorers claimed that Ahmed’s teeth were so large that they began to scratch the ground, and the legend spread throughout the country. Although he was rarely seen, he was very famous because of his reputation and people knew that his tusks were so long that he could climb hills only by walking backwards.
These teeth weighed 150 pounds each, making them the heaviest and largest in Africa.
In the 1970s, Ahmed’s popularity grew and coincided with projects to protect elephants from poachers. This led to several television projects, including an ABC series and a documentary.
His rise in pop culture inspired schoolchildren to campaign for him and he wrote to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president. Ahmed was later placed under protection by order of the President and security around him was increased.
President Kenyatta ordered taxidermists to preserve Ahmed for future generations at the Nairobi National Museum, where he can still be seen today.