40th Anniversary of AERP

Sat, 2012-09-01 07:34 by cmoss
Wart Ear in 1975

I can't quite believe it myself, but today is the 40th anniversary of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project. On September 1, 1972 Harvey Croze and I started photographing the Amboseli elephants for individual recognition. The first family we came upon was assigned the letter 'A'. We named the matriarch Annabel, the next oldest female was called Wart Ear because she had a large wart on one ear. She should have been given a name beginning with 'A', but Wart Ear stuck. Two years later she became the matriarch of her family and held that position for the next 22 years.

Wart Ear was an exceptionally calm and gentle female and even from the very beginning she was amazingly tolerant of our vehicle. In the accompanying photo taken in 1975 she is just casually walking by, looking in at me with no concern. That behavior is what has made studying the Amboseli elephants so rewarding. We can be flies on the wall observing their natural behavior.

What a privilege it has been to know these elephants and follow their lives for 40 years.