Born in 2000 to Rebecca, Ridder was a member of the so-called RA family.
The family was first sighted and photographed in 1973 by Cynthia Moss, a pioneering elephant researcher working along Amboseli Trust For Elephants.
It was a tough year to be born, because in 2000 Amboseli experienced a terrible drought. At times like this, the Maasai and elephants are competing for the same meagre resources, so it is to no surprise that tempers become short, and conflicts occur. Fifteen elephants were speared that year and nine of them died before the drought ended in December. However, the RAs, under the wise leadership of Remedios, avoided the Maasai and came through the drought unscathed. All the calves survived, including Ridder.
Raised up by aunts and sisters, like all male elephants, after pubescent years spent in the female-dominated world, Ridder 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. The RAs have produced many successful male calves who have grown up and become independent. Ridder along with others is roaming out in the world of the big bulls; and some of the older ones have been seen regularly in musth and mating with females.
Remedios, Rebecca and their calves
Photo and text credit: Cynthia Moss, Amboseli Trust For Elephants