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Ely was born in 1990 to Echo, the famous Amboseli elephant featured in the TV film “Echo of the Elephants.”
His arrival was greeted by a great excitement in the family, but the researchers did not suspected Ely to make it past a few days of being alive. He was crippling on his knees and not able to trek for water and food, or keep up with the movement of his herd. His mum and sister were not giving up on him though; staying behind while the rest of the family were getting the supplies.
What looked like a life-long disability to the observing humans around, turned out to be a matter of lack of space in his mother’s womb. Ely’s legs were indeed so long (an indication of how big he was going to be) that he hadn’t been able to stretch them out during pregnancy. Only three days after birth, he was able to stretch his ligaments for the very first time – and finally started walking!
At the young age of 11, Ely startled everyone again with his sudden disappearance. Many suspected him to be a victim of poaching or human-wildlife-conflict, yet nine years later, in 2010, he casually strolled along his old territory. Handsome, nibbling on the grass and testing young females proving he grew up a big handsome boy indeed!
Photo credit: Amboseli Trust for Elephants