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Born in November 1992 to Wendy II, Wouri was a member of the so-called WA family.
They were first sighted and photographed in 1975 by Cynthia Moss, a pioneering elephant researcher working along Amboseli Trust For Elephants.
Cynthia Moss is an Amboseli (Kenya) pioneering researcher that spent many years monitoring and recording elephants and published most valuable information about these magnificent animals. Back in 1975, in the early years of the study, Cynthia was working out how many families there were in the population and who belonged in a herd. As the adult females were photographed and the composition of the groups recorded, the groupings began to emerge as families. Each of these families was then assigned a letter of the alphabet. Thus the first family photographed became the ‘A’ family, the next the ‘B’ family and so on.
Wouri was a first calf born to Wendy II that survived – he broke her unfortunate ‘spell’. In 1987 13-year old Wendy II had her first calf, who sadly only lived for six months. It is not uncommon for a mother to lose her first calf and the drought didn’t help. Furthermore the loss of Wendy II’s mother when she was only two and a half appeared to have a detrimental on her when she tried to raise her own calves. She had a second calf in September 1989 but this calf died in January 1991. Finally in November 1992 she gave birth to a calf that survived, a female – Wouri. And after that she had no trouble raising calves.
Life has been good for WA family, and Wouri strived. Then in 2009 Amboseli experienced the worst drought in living memory. At the same time the demand for and the price of ivory had skyrocketed especially in China. The WA family did much better than most of the families in Amboseli – in fact they lost no calves and only one member of their family died. Sadly, that was Wendy II, presumably from the hand of the poachers – due to large tusks. Her calf born in April 2007 survived at two and half years old just as Wendy II had done when she lost her mother. It was an unhappy coincidence.
Wouri was 17 at that time and already had a baby girl called Whitecap then, followed in 2012 by another beauty called WOU12. Despite the loss, their family continued to strive.
Photo copyright and text: Cynthia Moss, Kenya Wildlife Service