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Lulu’s story is one of success and survival. In 1980, she was born into the so-called “LC family;” a name given by the infamous elephant researcher Cynthia Moss. Lulu was a strong and courageous elephant roaming around the Amboseli area with her family. She gave birth to her first daughter in 1994 and a son in 2000.
Unfortunately, in African savannahs droughts are inevitable and the start of the new millennium proved to be a year of very low rainfall. Amboseli experienced hard times due to lack of food and water. Nineteen of the calves that had been born in Amboseli in 1999 died in 2000; and seventeen of the calves born in 2000 died in the same year. Besides the lack of vegetation and water, as well as difficulties of mothers producing milk for the baby elephants, there were also many spearing incidents due to human-animal conflicts. These terrible conflicts arise especially when humans and wildlife have to fight for the same food in the same area.
In all, there were a devastating 65 elephant deaths that year. The LC family was not spared the tragedies, but Lulu – a strong mother together with her children – survived due to her great leading capabilities.
The following years the elephants resistance and survival skills continued to be put to test with poaching activities on the rise in the area, Maasai spearing and the return of yet another draught. The LC family – thanks to Lulu – is still standing proud and strong with her as one of the eldest and wisest females.
Photo copyright and text: Amboseli Trust for Elephants