Subject of several documentaries, Kenya’s most famous elephant, Echo, died last Sunday from old age, likely exacerbated by drought conditions in East Africa.
Matriarch of her family for 36 years, Echo watched the herd grow from seven elephants to forty. Echo was always easy to identify due to tusks that crossed at the tips.
Researchers from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants believe that her absence could create confusion among her family members as they struggle to find a new leader.
Echo of the Elephants was the first documentary made about Echo and her herd by the BBC. Several other documentaries followed.
Cynthia Moss, who has studied elephants in the region the 1970s and was the central researcher in the Echo documentaries, wrote on her blog: “for us on the Amboseli Elephant Research Project [Echo] has been an invaluable research subject providing us with insights into elephant behavior, leadership, communication, social relations and intelligence. But she was more than that. She was a daily presence, almost a companion to all of us. She gave us joy and filled us with wonder.”
African elephants being poached at record rate
(08/01/2008) African elephants are being killed for their ivory at a record pace, reports a University of Washington conservation biologist.
Disappearance of elephants, giraffes causes ecological chain reaction
(01/10/2008) The disappearance of elephants, giraffes and other grazing animals from the eastern African savanna could send ecological ripple effects all the way to the savanna’s ants and the acacia trees they inhabit, warns a new study published in the journal Science.
African elephants get 9-year reprieve
(06/14/2007) African countries have agreed to extend a ban on ivory exports for another nine years. In a deal reached Wednesday at the meeting of the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in The Hague, four African countries will be allowed to sell their ivory stockpiles to raise funds for conservation and community development efforts. The ivory had been intercepted from black market transactions and the sale by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe had been previously approved. The four countries say their elephant populations are increasing thanks to conservation and law enforcement efforts.