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Andre was born in 1979 into a so-called AB family in Amboseli, Kenya. They were observed and documented by a pioneering scientist Cynthia Moss from Amboseli Trust for Elephants, who was naming each family after a letter of the alphabet (after running out of letters, she introduced AA, AB etc.).
Like all male elephants, after pubescent years spent in the female-dominated world of mothers and maternal helpers, Andre broke out and began spending time with other male elephants. While males may not form the same kinds of close-knit friendships as female-led groups, research has proven that male aggregations are far from random. The older males mentor the youngsters and guide them through the adult world. Although males leave their birth family at an average age of 14, they don't leave family life altogether. Instead, they might move off and join another family, or move from family to family - and up to the age of 25 they mostly spend time with other family groups. There was a mistaken belief that young males get kicked out of their families. But this came from observations of males who had left their own family and joined another, where they are not as welcome as they would be with their own family.
Life seemed to be going well for Andre during the teenage years, but nature began to show its harshest side. Not enough rain fell for two years in a row and then in the third year, 2009, there was barely any rain at all. Amboseli experienced the worst drought in living memory. People, livestock and wildlife all suffered. Sixty to eighty per cent of the cattle died; 83% of the wildebeest, 71% of the zebras and 61% of the buffaloes perished. Over 300 elephants died from the drought and an upsurge of poaching; unfortunately, Andre was one of them.