Echo's Death

Fri, 2010-09-17 15:17 by Joanne · Forum/category:

It is my understanding that Echo passed away on May 4th at 2:42 pm but collapsed May 3rd in the morning. What I would like to know is: was a veterinarian called in, and if not why? And also why was she allowed to linger for a day or a day and a half and not euthanized, would this have not been more humane? I understand this is how they die in the wild, but there were people there with her.


Thu, 2012-07-05 18:27 by rhuff

I just want to say that Euthanasia is ONLY humane for humans to watch. Who knows how humane it really is, because it's a paralytic, and the animals can have a VERY violent reaction. and it's very expensive, and you'd need a LOT for an elephant. Just because an animal dies of natural causes, does NOT mean that they need euthanasia. should the animal have been severely injured perhaps, that might call for it. but sorry, I agree with how she was handled. She was one awesome elephant, and she made my love for elephants grow, if that were even possible!!!

Echo's Death

Sun, 2010-09-19 12:02 by suguta0

I'm so glad this subject has come up again, because I thought I read somewhere that it took two weeks for Echo to die and that really did upset me. I'm so glad to hear that it was nothing like that. And in terms of Nature's ways, it seems to me that it was a peaceful end. I was so glad to see on the film that Katito was with her and she did not die alone.

My thoughts go out to all the team. Such a loss must be almost unbearable.

Echo was a wild elephant

Sat, 2010-09-18 03:20 by hge

Echo was a wild elephant, not a pet. Wild animals die naturally.
I do agree that if an elephant was injured by human and if there was no chance of recovery, it’s appropriate to end it’s suffering. Like Erin's case.

Never, did I ever think Echo

Sat, 2010-09-18 07:41 by Joanne

Never, did I ever think Echo a pet, read my question again!! Obviously my dates were wrong, however, if they had been correct, I had a valid question!!

Discussions here

Sun, 2010-09-19 03:15 by hge

I am sorry that my yesterday’s post had upset you so much. And I am glad there were some good discussions after this. Some posts expressed what I wanted but couldn’t in English. We all come here for the interest and care about elephants and I am thankful we have this platform to do so.

Echo's Death Revisted

Sat, 2010-09-18 08:51 by cmoss

Dear Joanne,

I'm very sorry that this exchange has upset you. Echo's death was a profound loss for us, one we still haven't recovered from. You brought up painful memories. I was actually in the US when I got word that Echo was down and dying. I got on a plane and flew back to Kenya as quickly as I could even knowing I couldn't possibly make it back before she died. In the meantime, the ATE researchers did everything they could. They contacted the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) who contacted their vet, who was at least five hours away in Tsavo National Park. All wild animals are the responsibility of KWS. Any and all treatment of an individual has to be done by them. Yes, of course, once we realized Echo wasn't gong to get up, I would have preferred euthanizing her in a painless way, but that was not possible under the circumstances. I definitely did not want her shot. We had to let her die in her own time. Eventually her death was peaceful.

In your original question with the wrong dates, you seemed to be questioning our ethics in how we handled the situation. You certainly have a right to do this, but I do not feel that we let Echo down on any level.

Can I suggest that you watch the final Echo film, which includes her death. It will be shown on PBS stations in the US on October 17. When you see Katito Sayialel with Echo in her dying moments, I think you will see that there is no way we would do anything but what we thought was best for Echo.

Regards, Cynthia

The Date of Echo's Death

Fri, 2010-09-17 15:44 by cmoss

Echo died on May 3, not on May 4. In other words, she died the same day she was found lying down. The Kenya Wildlife Service was informed and concluded that she could not be helped by veterinary care. There was never any question about shooting her. No one wanted her last moments to be the sound of a rifle shot. She was allowed to die naturally.

I do believe I said euthanize

Fri, 2010-09-17 15:46 by Joanne

I do believe I said euthanize by a veterinarian, no where in my question did I say shoot!


Fri, 2010-09-17 18:49 by cmoss

KWS shoots sick elephants. They do not have the drugs to euthanize an animal the size of an elephant. The decision to shoot is a very difficult one to make.

I am sorry I ever inquired at

Sat, 2010-09-18 07:00 by Joanne

I am sorry I ever inquired at all, and never will I ever come in here and ask another.

it's a shame to take offense to some things....

Thu, 2012-07-05 18:31 by rhuff

Euthanasia should only be reserved for injured animals. Natural death of old age and other things that may speed up tha tprocess is much different than an injury which abruptlly ends a life.... It would take so incredibly much medication for a euthanasia, AND, it may or may not work properly, thus causing more distress , pain, discomfort, and more. Best to let well enough alone. Even shooting can cause more problems. Humans do not need to interfere in everything....

Echo's Death

Wed, 2010-09-22 22:23 by 2colleens

Hi Joanne,
I agree with Maryea46. The elephants need us all. Echo's death was a very sad event and I still feel sad when I think about it. She gave us so much and she was a wonderful leader and her family obviously missed her terribly as we all do. I have every confidence in Cynthia and the ATE and know that they are doing a wonderful job.


Sat, 2010-09-18 18:41 by Shuger66

Dear Joanne, I am so sorry to see the stance you are taking in regards to the ethics of the natural dying process of our beloved Echo. And I am amazed at Cynthia's response that holds so much grace and compassion for your thoughts and concerns.

I for one have complete trust in ATE and the relationships that they are developing with all the elephant families. I think if Echo would have been euthenized or shot (and I know you didn't suggest that but it would have likely been the only option), then I believe, in my limited knowledge of elephants, that this would have been traumatizing for Echo's family members. I believe the most important aspects of Echo's natural death (thankfully she lived a full and rich life), is to document how her family members respond from an event that is as natural as being born. To rob her family of their own experiences of losing their matriarch would have been unethical and cruel, in my humble opinion.

I just wanted to say there is a bigger picture here and I completely trust Cynthia, and all her colleagues, that the work they do is built upon the highest ethical standards, and any decisions made during Echo's passing was the best for Echo in her final moments, and for her family.

I have not seen the new program yet but i prefer to buy it anyway when it's released on DVD. Thank you for having this forum to be able to express our thoughts, even Joanne's, because it helps us to learn and grow. I must admit, last year as the news broke I thought much like you Joanne, to put Echo out of her misery, but then I thought who am I to judge? Who are we to take from Echo the right to pass on her terms, not ours?

With warmth,

Thanks Noella (and Massago)

Sat, 2010-09-18 21:06 by msowers

Thanks Noella (and Massago) for the great responses, and you're absolutely right. We can never underestimate the knowledge of the wonderful people on the ATE team who are working there in the moment and have spent the greater portion of their lives working for the elephants. They have an incredible understanding of the elephants and every decision is made with a great deal of thought and consideration. Echo's death was handled the right way (though it was very difficult), and I hope everyone involved remains confident that they did the right thing.


Sat, 2010-09-18 09:21 by Massago

Joanne, I think here is a place to discuss, to share, to say what we feel about elephants, maybe to suggest. ATE gives us the possibility to follow what they do day after day through this forum. I think we can be grateful for that.
Now, about Echo, you can understand there are rules in Amboseli NP. Cynthia is not responsible for elephants in Amboseli, I mean the authority is the Kenya Wildlife Service which have rules. All of us are very sad about Echos's death, all of us would have prefered her not to suffer. But who here can decide which kind of death we have to give to wild animals when we find them dying ? If I listen to my heart, I will say it could be so much better to practise euthanasia by injection but how many animals are in the same case like Echo has been ? I saw Echo with her familiy in Amboseli in 2006. Be sure I really regret her death but I can't judge the decision what has been taken.

So, this forum is a wonderful place to discuss. Let's continue to do it all of us.

I do believe I have offended

Sat, 2010-09-18 21:59 by Joanne

I do believe I have offended some people by my question and I am sorry for it. It was never my intent to question anyone's eithics in the situation. All I wanted to know was why she was not euthanized at the time and I had no knowledge of how they handle these things in Africa. I absolutely believe that ATE is doing wonderful things for the elephants and I am very much in support of all they do. Once again, I am deeply sorry if I have offended anyone.

Our dear Echo

Sun, 2010-09-19 04:53 by maryea46

Hi Joanne

Like most of us here, you were obviously deeply upset by dear Echo's death and rightly so too.

I didn't learn of Echo's passing, until some time after the sad event and admit I was also quite shocked when I saw the video showing her dying and eventual death. But although it took me some time to come to terms with the manner in which Echo died, after a while I realized she was a wild animal and shooting her was obviously not an option, as Cynthia explained and no quanity of drug required to euthanize an elephant was available. So in this case, it was best to let nature take its course and allow Echo to pass on in her own time, which she did, naturally and peacefully.

Echo was an old elephant and her time had come, after an incredible life leading and caring for her great family as well as she did. Her passing, as sad as it was, is part of the life cycle of a wild elephant. I find the fact that Erica gave birth to a live and healthy calf after the drought which took our sweet Echo, very reassuring. This happy event gives us hope for the future of wild elephants - where's there's death, there's always new life.

I hope this gives you some reassurance Joanne and please don't leave. The elephants need as many human friends as they can get.

Long may Echo's legacy live on and judging by this site, I have no doubt it will.

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