There aren’t many ways to stop a bullet and Kevlar armor doesn’t come in ‘Super Tusker’ size. We’re hoping a tracking collar will be the next best thing because Esau needs it.

Esau is extraordinary. Only 34 years old, his tusks are already past the 100-pound mark, putting him in the rare company of Super Tuskers, of which as few as 50 remain across Africa.

Esau is the nephew of Echo, one of Amboseli’s most famous matriarchs. We know his life story thanks to the amazing work done by Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

Their data shows that at least 20% of Amboseli’s elephants cross the border into Tanzania, including Esau. Until now, he has had little to fear thanks to cross-border anti-poaching operations, but a new threat lurks across the invisible border.

After more than two decades, trophy hunters have started hunting elephants in this area of northern Tanzania again. Three have been killed since last September, at least two of them reported to be Super Tuskers. Esau would be a prime target.

Hearing this, our friends at Mara Elephant Project provided a tracking collar through their partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service and Wildlife Research and Training Institute. During the planning phase, Esau received an injury to his trunk, likely during a fight with another bull, and the opportunity to treat it added further impetus to the exercise.

Timing was everything. Rangers followed his movements on both sides of the border, and when he crossed into Kenya, the teams were ready.

Save the Elephants sent specialists to assist with the collar fitting and the operation was an extraordinary display of cooperation and transboundary commitment to protecting these bulls. Nine entities were involved, including Big Life-supported rangers from the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area in Tanzania.

Esau's collar will provide invaluable data on the movements of a male approaching his breeding prime, but more importantly it could save his life, as research animals are 'off-limits' for hunters.

Special thanks to Kenya Wildlife Service, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Olgulului Community Rangers, and IFAW in addition to those already mentioned.

Photo & Video: Jeremy Goss