Echo's Family

Sun, 2009-05-10 09:49 by cmoss

It is one week since Echo died. All of us who have spent so much time with her over the years are now here: Soila, Norah, Katito, Robert, Martyn Colbeck and I.

Martyn flew out from the UK last Sunday and got down to Amboseli on Monday morning. By then Echo had died and her body had been moved to a quiet place that was one of her favorites for resting with the family. I arrived from the US on Tuesday night and flew down to Amboseli on Thursday morning.

We have been keeping a close watch on the rest of the family, which numbers 39--a very large elephant family by any standards. We're in a drought and families break down into smaller groups when food is scarce and patchy anyway, but since her death Echo's family has broken up into five sub-groups. Echo's sister Ella, the next oldest adult female at 44, has gone off with her daughters and calves. She was always the most independent and we're not even sure she knows that Echo is gone. She may have decided to feed in another area before Echo died. The others are staying close by. Echo's oldest daughter Enid, who virtually never left her side, seems the most distraught. Alone with just two of her calves, she shows agitated behavior, has temporal gland secretion and is calling frequently. Echo's other daughters, granddaughters, grandsons and great grandchildren are in a group of 20 led by Eliot, her 24-year-old daughter. We think that Enid will eventually join them and take the lead.

In a fourth group is Eudora, who is 37 years old and is Echo's niece. She leads a subgroup of six including her adult daughter Elspeth and four calves. Enid, Eliot and Eudora's groups are all in the same area but not together. The fifth group is led by Edwina, one of Echo's granddaughers, who has often separated from the rest of the family with her four calves. She's in Ol Tukai Orok near our camp. The others are following Echo's routine of spending the day in the swamp and the night inside the old fence. They have not gone directly to the carcass but lift their trunks and smell it as they walk by. I would give anything to know what they are thinking.

Thanx to Soila, Norah, Katito, Robert, Martyn Colbeck

Sun, 2009-08-16 11:47 by shantanu khilare

Thanks to Soila, Norah, Katito, Robert, Martyn Colbeck doing goodwork for Elephant in Amboseli i always watch them on Animal Planet

Its really sad for us

Sun, 2009-08-16 11:44 by shantanu khilare

Its really sad for us .Echo is not with us in future. God may soul rest in peace.

Echo's bones

Wed, 2009-06-03 04:57 by Michal G.

I wanted to suggest that perhaps when Echo’s skeleton is ready to be collected, molds could be taken of the bones and replica casts made for display, rather than trying to display the actual bones. Modern museum techniques make exact replicas that are actually more stable and sturdy for display than real bones are. Additionally it gives the option of making multiple copies of the desired objects without damaging the originals. I am sure that there are many institutions around the world that would undertake this project for you with the aim of helping to return the natural skeleton to her family while preserving the use of it for science and education. Then it would be possible to both display her bones and to return them to her family as seems right. There is an increasing emphasis on repatriating aboriginal remains in the case of funerary objects and human remains, it seems to me that extending that cultural respect to animals who seem to display death awareness as elephants do, is not too far a stretch.

I am double posting this because I feel strongly about making sure that all options are explored before deciding to keep Echo's bones forever from her family, and I get the feeling from the blogs and comments that I am not alone. My background is in exhibit fabrication, used to do this kind of replication on bones, fossils, teeth, you name it, all the time at the company I worked for, and most museums do this for all display/education collections now. There are many good reasons to persue this option; positive publicity, potential revenue, I'm sure you can think of more, but mostly because it just feels wrong to keep her bones from her family even as you all try to maintain proper scientific detachment, I think.

Echo's Family

Tue, 2009-05-26 03:38 by lovetheeleies

God Bless you Echo and you will be missed by all exspecially your Family.
Sounds like Echo's Family are all going in there separate little familes.
"I still worry about them all" > exspecialy the ones that are in small groups as there is not much protection from preditors.
I hope there will be plenty of water for all threw the drought.
I pray Echo's oldest daughter Enid will soon realize Echo has passed on and she must grow stronger to get her and her calves threw the drought and maybe be the leader of all soon.
It would be so nice to see the whole family as a group and together again.
(Once again you will be missed Echo.)

I really regret Echo´s death

Tue, 2009-05-19 01:53 by Laura Terán

Dear Cynthia,
I really regret Echo’s death. I imagine the pain you all feel because you accompanied her all these years. Echo will live forever in our hearts as an example mother that fought for her family’s and all her species’ survival. With her courage and sweetness she could overcame all the adversities. I’m sure that Echo did not leave, her spirit goes on living through the warm breeze on the hot soil of Amboseli. I trust her family will find the way to go on without her physical presence.

Thank you to all of you: Cynthia, Martin, Zoila, Katito, Norah, Harvey and to all the staff of the ATE for having shown to the whole humankind this beautiful creature that showed us the complexity and love that there is in the elephant’s family.

Kind regards.


Fri, 2009-05-15 12:17 by Kota Viviers

I'm new to this but am saddened to hear about Echo's death. I've only very recently discovered the story of Amboseli's elephants and being an animal and elephant lover I really enjoyed it but was also sad to see how we as humans can destroy animals. Hopefully the herd will continue to grow and prosper despite loosing a great matriarch

The EBs

Tue, 2009-05-12 19:22 by niall anderson

Thank you, Cynthia: your update is much appreciated; I do hope that the core of the family remains together, and it sounds as though Eliot has risen well to the occasion. Is there any usual pattern with a family of this size, following the death of a matriarch who has cemented them together for so long?

The EBs now

Mon, 2009-05-11 21:50 by Donna

Thank you, Cynthia, for the update on the EBs. I'm hoping they will get back together. They were such a woonderful large group. All of us who have learned to love Echo through Martyn's films and your book are also grieving at Echo's passing. I hope all of you and the elephants are starting to feel a bit better. I know it is hard for you all.



Mon, 2009-05-11 13:32 by joannes

It is extremely sad, I hope the family do all stay together, safety in numbers with the drought at the moment. I notice it says Echo's body has been moved to one of her favourite places. I was just wondering when a elephant dies in Amboseli do the tusks get taken by KWS or the like? Echo was absolutely gorgeous and had the most amazing ivory I have a lovely picture of her on my desk top, I hate the thought of someone profiting from them. I am just new to reading the blogs etc on here but am an avid follower of the DSWT and just wondered what happens.


Mon, 2009-05-11 13:50 by Anna Martinsson

Thank you Cynthia for this update, Echo was in so many ways the glue that kept the EB's together, I hope Enid will join Elliot and the other younger daughters of Echo (I also wish Eudora could stay but think Echo was a big part of her being with the family)… Enid is such a carbon copy of her mum and she would be a great leader of the EB's. I for one will keep my fingers crossed…

Ella I guess was always going to go on her own to a degree and Edwina (lucky she has daughters and I am sure some of her mum's temperament) have the making of being a smaller and successful sub group of the original EB's..

We all wish they will continue to flourish and grow as the little happy unit they are so known to us all around the world, looking around Amboseli in the future Echo did put down a huge legacy and her genes will truly be part of the Amboseli Elephants for many generations to come. Thank you all for keeping an eye out for them and the numerous issues facing them on a daily basis...

Thank you for the updates

Mon, 2009-05-11 04:16 by hge

Thank you very much Cynthia for the updates. Thank you all Cynthia, Soila, Norah, Katito, Robert and Martyn for continue monitoring and filming elephants in this difficult time.
Echo’s passing provides an opportunity to see how a family changes after a great matriarch’s death. Rest in peace Echo.
Enid always gave me an impression that she’s very caring. She’s the one stayed with Echo and newborn Ely in Echo I. She ran back to them after Ely couldn’t stand and bellowed. Maybe at the time, she’s the oldest available daughter that could accompany Echo. Erin probably had her own young calf then. Enid will be a good leader. Erin could be a good leader too. It’s a shame that she was killed at her prime.
So Esprit, Emily Kate, Email and Erica are with Eliot right now. Eliot didn’t have good luck raising her young. Emilio’s death was extremely tragic. How is she doing with her 4th calf?
I am not surprised that Eudora is leaving. She’s the only female offspring that Emily left. She is an experienced mother and she's mature enough to go off with her calves.
I remember I read from previous reports that Edwina didn’t get along with other members in EB after she injured her leg. I always wonder why is that? The lost of Erin probably worsen her situation. She has girls early on and has the potential to have a big family. Did Edwina leave the group for food before Echo collapsed?
I wish there is more rain and all of the elephants doing well.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.