Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Eb Elephants Amboseli (c) AERP
Amboseli, home to the world's longest wild elephant study

Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, is home to one of the most famous families of elephants in the world – the EB elephants. 

The matriarch of the herd, Echo, was easily recognized by her distinctive long, crossed tusks.  Cynthia Moss began research on the EBs and other elephants in Amboseli in 1973.  Today the Amboseli Elephant Research Project is the longest running study of wild African elephants anywhere in Africa.  Research from the project has provided valuable insights into the behaviour and intelligence of African elephants.  Born Free has been supporting the work of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project for many years and offers adoptions for two of Echo’s daughters - Emily Kate (named by Martin Clunes after his daughter) and Esprit.

Amboseli Update

Emily Kate (and bulge)
Esprit (r) keeps an eye on her big sister Eliot's calf

We have just received this fascinating report about the EB elephants from Cynthia Moss, Founder of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project:

Amazing things are happening in Amboseli right now. Since last October 63 elephant babies have been born. The population is experiencing an unprecedented baby boom! This is because sadly so many calves died during the recent drought. Plus adult females were in such poor condition they stopped breeding; once conditions improved in 2010 they were ready to conceive. Now 22 months later we’re seeing the results.

The EB family has joined in the celebration of new life. So far four new calves have been born; to Ella, Enid, Eliot and Ebony. So Emily Kate and Esprit’s three older sisters all have new calves. Nothing is more exciting to young females. The two sisters are busy ‘allomothering’ the calves. An allomother helps care for an infant - a sort of baby-sitter.

Young females are strongly attracted to calves, particularly newborns. They watch over them, follow them around, rescue them if they get in trouble and give them lots of attention. This behaviour is beneficial for all: the calf is well taken care of, the mother gets a chance to feed and rest (just what a lactating female needs), and the baby-sitter learns about mothering, very useful when she has her own calf.

Wonderful news - Emily Kate, who is now 11 years old, is a few months pregnant. She spends more time feeding and as you can see, it certainly shows in her shape! Esprit, who turned seven on 12 January, is an ardent carer of both Eliot and Ebony’s calves. In short, all the new calves in the family are being spoiled and fussed over!

This is a good time for the EBs. The rains have been good and so there is an abundance of vegetation.

Don't forget, you can adopt Emily Kate here.

*** Stop press - Emily Kate has had her baby - find out more here >***

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