The Legend who climbed hills backwards

Mohamed Amin

Mohamed Amin Foundation

Mohamed Amin Foundation
Nairobi, Kenya

In 1970 Ahmed shot into the limelight featuring in three films -- the ABC series “The American Sportsman”, “The Search for Ahmed” and a French documentary on the work of renowned conservationist the Iain Douglas-Hamilton. He got further attention when a 1970 letter-writing campaign by schoolchildren to Kenya’s first President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, requested him to protect this national treasure. Kenyatta placed Ahmed under his protection by Presidential Decree, an unparalleled occurrence in the history of the country and the only Elephant to be declared a living monument. The giant was watched day and night by two armed game rangers, ensuring security and surveillance at all hours. Ahmed got used to the presence of his guards and continued to roam Marsabit Park. One morning in 1974, after having waited in vain for Ahmed to reappear from the bushes he had disappeared into for the night, his personal bodyguards decided to go and look for him. They eventually found him, but he had already passed away. He was not lying flat on his side but in a peaceful repose against a tree, still looking like he was sleeping. The security had worked and he lived a full life, succumbing to natural causes at the age of 55. President Kenyatta declared Ahmed be preserved at the Nairobi National Museum for future generations to be able to admire this giant of nature. The chief taxidermist at Zimmermann’s Ltd, Wolfgang Schenk, took care of Ahmed, and today the “King of Marsabit” still stands proudly at the Kenya National Museum in Nairobi. Kenya's renowned photojournalist Mohamed Amin, also known as 'Six Camera Mo' was best known as a great frontline photojournalist, but he spent more time documenting his country’s beauty, wildlife, culture, people and leaders than anything else. Mo managed to use his cameras for more than a generation to bring East Africa’s most powerful stories into world view. “I remember my Dad telling me how they were charged by Ahmed as they took what turned out to be the last pictures of the King. They had been following him on foot all day and his patience with them eventually ran out and he charged the camera team. My father and his colleague Peter Moll were running away and decided to run on opposite sides of a tree not realizing they were still attached together by the sound cables and Peter was whipped back around the tree narrowly missing the giant tusks!” ~ Salim Amin


  • Title: The Legend who climbed hills backwards
  • Creator: Mohamed Amin
  • Type: Photograph
  • Rights: Mohamed Amin / Camerapix

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