The History of the FB Family

Mon, 2011-02-21 13:50 by cmoss · Forum/category:
Early ID Photo of Freda

Freda of the FBs had one of the longest reigns as matriarch of any of the families in Amboseli. She was there when the family was first sighted on the second day of the project on September 2, 1972 and she continued as matriarch until she died in 2009. That made her very special to us. Freda’s family is one of the best-known in the population. I have continuous records of its births and deaths, good times and bad times over the past 38 years.

In those first days Harvey Croze and I were trying to contact as many groups of elephants as possible and photograph at least the adult members. We drove out to the western part of the Park crossing the causeway over the Enkongu Narok swamp. Just along the shore we found a group of cows and calves. Unfortunately, they were disappearing into the deep swamp, but we managed to get a few photographs. When we developed the rolls of film in Nairobi we identified two females—one adult and one sub-adult—we assumed belonged to a single family. On that first trip we had seen and photographed seven definite families each of which we gave a letter of the alphabet. The first group was called the "A" family; the sixth group was given the letter “F”. We named the larger female Freda and the younger one Fay.

At that time we were working part-time and didn’t see Freda and Fay again for four months and once again we could not see them well. We saw them one more time and then finally on October 5, 1973 we were able to spend some time with them and get better photos. They seemed to be in a sub-group of four within a larger group. In addition to Freda and Fay there was a tuskless female whom we named Flora. We noted that Freda had a female calf who appeared to be about 3-4 years old. From their ages we suspected that Fay and Flora were also Freda’s daughters, but we could not be sure.

It would not be until the following year that we got a better idea of the composition of the family. We also had to make the decision that there were actually two F families. We had lumped all the individuals we had seen together as one family but subsequent sightings revealed that there were two and possibly even three families. The section with Freda, Fay and Flora became the FBs. Later we assigned another sub-adult female to this family and named her Felicity. By the end of 1975 we had seen these individuals 26 times. We decided that the FB family consisted of the following five individuals:

	Freda       Adult F around 25-30 years old
	   Fanny    F Calf about 6 years old
	   Fay      Young F around 10 years old
	Flora       Tuskless F around 14 years old
	Felicity    Young F around 11 years old

To read the full history open the attachment.

The History of the FB Family.pdf718.61 KB

I have a question about the age of Fagin

Mon, 2012-02-20 15:45 by echo2009

Cynthia Thanks for showing us another beautiful story of the great family of Amboseli. The FB family members have proven great fighters. But I have a doubt. During the telling of the story you say, Fagin, the last son of Freda, born in June 1985, however, you have written June 1995 as date of birth of Fagin in the latest list of independent males. Therefore, I would like to know the birth date of Fagin.

I hope Felicity take care FB family as well as did Freda. A greeting.

Fagin's Birth Date

Tue, 2012-02-21 07:02 by cmoss

Good catch. It was a typographical error in the list of independent males. Fagin was born in 1985.

Thank you for the explanation Cynthia

Tue, 2012-02-21 21:07 by echo2009

For the persons that we follow to Amboseli's elephants from the distance, it is very important to have the maximum possible information about they, since thus we feel them more nearby and thanks to your work it is possible. So, once again, thank you very much for everything.


Tue, 2011-02-22 01:16 by Chris Sandusky

Alright I will have to say this is one of the best family histories but I always thought there was an elephant named Fernanda in the FB family?? Anyways thanks :)


Tue, 2011-02-22 06:40 by cmoss

Fernanda is alive and is in the FD family. She is currently the matriarch of that family.


Mon, 2011-02-21 16:33 by Donna

Thank you, Cynthia.

Comment viewing options

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