An elephant matriarch in Kenya died recently because of her age.
Until the end, she was a sight to admire, especially thanks to her enormous tusks, which were so unusually large that they resembled those of the extinct mammoths.
A beauty worth seeing in photographs, and I can’t imagine what it must have felt like seeing the massive Elephant stomp in front of you while showing off her unusually massive, Monmouth-like tusks.
But wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, who captured the stunning images had that honor.
In 2017, Burrard-Lucas visited Tsavo to document the life of the Kenyan nonprofit Tsavo Trust. During his visit, he set out in search for a massive elephant with stunning, long tusks.
Known as F_MU1, the old female elephant lived in Kenya’s Tsavo region for more than 60 years, explained in a blog post.
As explained by the Guardian, F_MU1 had a proper name, but it is also the name of the place she was found. To ensure the security of elephants in that location, only codes are used in public
“We had been looking for this elephant for several days, but finding her in a vast wilderness the size of Switzerland had proven difficult,” explained Burrard-Lucas.
Then, as they circled the area in search of the Elephant Queen, a colleague radioed in that the Elephant was heading their way:
“She’s heading your way, you should be able to see her”.
“Over the bushes, I caught a glimpse of an elephant’s back and seconds later she stepped out into the open,” wrote the wildlife photographer. “I was speechless.”
Seeing her must have been a sight to remember.
“F_MU1 was skinny and old but she strode forward with stately grace. Her tusks were so long that they scraped the ground in front of her. She was like a relic from a bygone era,” wrote Burrard-Lucas
According to the Guardian, only 25 such elephants remain in the wild. They are a target for poachers who look to cash out on their massive tusks.
The Elephant Queen died of natural causes shortly after these pictures were taken.
The photographs above are featured in a new book called: “Land of Giants” which also includes several of Tsavo’s other iconic tuskers.
Image Credit: Burrad-Lucas Photography.