Born in 1997 to Primrose, Patasse was a member of the so-called PA family, who were first sighted and photographed in 1973 by Cynthia Moss, a pioneering elephant researcher working along Amboseli Trust For Elephants.
Early childhood was peaceful for Patasse and her family, but then in August 2006, she disappeared with her mother Primrose. The researchers were never sure of the cause, but suspected poaching. Being so large, elephants have very few enemies, except humans. The biggest threat worldwide is poaching for ivory, and in some cases for skin (Myanmar) and meat (West and Central Africa). Poaching rate were really high that year and reached its peak in 2011 with 30 elephants being killed per day.
Since then there has been a slight decline in poaching due to concerted efforts worldwide to stop the illegal ivory trade and to counteract poaching. Overall the African elephant population is declining by 8% per year; this means that if the poaching rate is not reversed we will lose all the elephants in Africa within the next 20 years, as the poaching rate exceeds the birthing rate.
Photo and text credit: Cynthia Moss, Amboseli Trust For Elephants, Robbie Labanowski