The History of the BB Family

Wed, 2010-10-13 13:46 by cmoss · Forum/category:
Big Tuskless

I first met the BB family on October 20, 1973. My colleague Harvey Croze and I were struck by the family immediately because it was led by a huge, tuskless female who had the biggest ears I have ever seen on an elephant. The family was very distinctive. Not only was there this magnificent, big tuskless, but there was also a second tuskless female, a one-tusked female, and a tuskless calf. It looked like this was going to be very easy family to get know and start collecting data on.

As it turned out there was a certain amount of confusion about this “double tuskless” family. We managed to photograph the adult females and began to get some idea of its composition over the next few sightings. I saw the family two more times in 1973 and concluded that there were eleven members. Since I kept referring to the matriarch as Big Tuskless, that became her name and the family was designated the BBs (there was already a BA family) although we still also referred to them as the Double Tusklesses. All the other adult females were then given names beginning with ‘B’. Bette was named after a friend from high school and Barbara was named after my roommate in college. We named the young female Bonnie and the young male Ben. The family appeared to consist of the following members:

Big Tuskless        Adult female tuskless
   her calf         2-3 years old
   female calf      about 7 years old
Bette               Adult female tuskless 
   her calf         also tuskless, 3-4 years old
Barbara             Adult female with splayed tusks
   her calf         2-3 years old
Belinda             Young female about 13 years old 
   her calf         less than 1 year old
Bonnie              about 10 years old
Ben                 about 10 years old

To read the rest of this history download the attached PDF file.

History of the BB Family10-10.pdf256.66 KB

Thank you for another emotive history.

Fri, 2012-02-10 22:23 by echo2009

I had liked to be in Amboseli in the year 2001 when these big aggregations of elephants took place and to be able to see to the big matriarches play between the grass. Cynthia should have thought that she was in the sky. BIG TUSKLESS, I will remember you always and all the luck of the world for Barbara, Bente and the whole family BB.

BB family

Tue, 2010-11-09 19:52 by nicola

Is there a female elephant named bertha in the BB's?


Another family

Mon, 2012-04-30 13:12 by Elephant2011

There was an elephant named Bertha in the BA family, and this family is already extinct.


Sat, 2010-10-23 20:16 by Espresso

Hey Cynthia, long time, no talk!!
Very good report. I haven't been on in soooooo long, I never knew you were doing this History thing! AAnyways, I loved to learn about the BB's!


Fri, 2012-06-01 05:33 by Elephant2011

Yes the BB family is very interesting. I have to admit that they are one my favourite families in the population, one of, which means all the families mean a lot to me.

Thank you Cynthia

Fri, 2010-10-22 03:30 by hge

Another great document. Thank you!

I was surprised to see the name "Baidu" (百度) and then when I saw "Byte" and "Browser" I realize that they must born in the year of "Computer/Internet" theme. That's how Email got his name. That really is a brilliant idea. They are so unforgettable.
I hope Barbara stays many more years, because the BB lost it's entire 2nd generation to the terrible drought and Bente formed her own family group. The next oldest is Beryl, who is yet to successfully raise a calf and was never a matriarch’s daughter. They reallly need Barbara's wise lead for a while.


bonnie's family

Thu, 2010-10-28 18:04 by nicola

i have a question. bonnie has 2 adult daughters beryl (1983) and billie (1993) have they had anyoffspring yet?

BB Calves

Fri, 2012-06-01 05:29 by Elephant2011

In general, female elephants start breeding at the age of 12-14, during which they come into oestrus every three months during the year until they are mated. An oestrus cycle can last about three to five days during which the female in oestrus(season or heat) attracts the attention of the bulls around (not necessarily in musth). In the BB family, yes Beryl and Billie are the daughters of Bonnie. Beryl is now 29 years old and should have already produced about 4 to 5 calves already. Billie is now 19 years old and should have atleast produced 2 calves already.

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