The death of a matriarch

Yesterday I came face to face with a shocking and disturbing reality of elephant conservation when I witnessed a gentle intelligent matriarch who had seemingly been shot in the leg, die before my very eyes. We found her collapsed in a remote part of the reserve, frightened, severely ill and dehydrated and despite keeping her calm and cool with water, she sadly succumbed to her injuries and died.

a dying elephant
A team from Save The Elephants, Kenya Wildlife Service and rangers from the Nasuulu and Samburu conservancies pour water on Generosity in an effort to keep her calm and cool


In her last moments, I watched her gasping for breath, her back arched, her legs rigid, mouth trembling and eyes wide in shock. It was one of the most saddest things I’ve ever seen – like watching a Human die – and I’m not ashamed to say that I cried like a baby in front of the Kenya Wildlife Service, rangers and Save The Elephants staff who were all trying to save her.

dying elephant
Dr George Wittemyer, Chairman of the STE Scientific Board, stands over the body of Generosity after she died. Dr Wittemyer has known Generosity and her family for more than 20 years …

Her name was Generosity, she was 35, mother to a four-year-old calf, well-known to Save The Elephants and a true survivor who had battled snares, drought and loss of her own mother to become a successful leader of her herd, a sub-family of the Virtues who are no doubt bewildered and confused by the sudden loss of their matriarch.

You can read the full story by clicking here …..…

a ranger with tusks
A ranger from the Kenya Wildlife Service holds Generosity’s tusks. They were removed to deter poachers after he death.

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