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Odette was first recognised by Cynthia Moss by the very up-curved tusks. Many of the females who had given birth in 1979-80 gave birth again in 1983-84. In 1983 the so-called OA family females had four calves. Oddly, as elephants often get pregnant together, Odette hadn’t yet given birth at that point and it wasn’t until April 1985, after a draught, that Odette gave birth to her first calf, a female.
Over the next several years life was fairly peaceful for the OAs. There were more births and no deaths of adults. In 1987, more females gave birth and once again, out of sync with the others, Odette had a calf in 1989.
In 1993, Odette had a son, but this calf died when he was a year old. Even with the losses, by mid-1994, the family had grown to 14 . Sadly, the following year Odette’s nine-year-old daughter,
Olena died as a result of a broken leg, after what was probably an accident.
Amboseli underwent the worst drought in living memory in 2009. Nearly 400 elephants died including 250 calves. In the OA family there were 12 deaths. Most of these were calves under two years old, but much more devastating three of the big females died: Orlanda, Odette and Olive.
Photo copyright and text: Cynthia Moss & Amboseli Trust for Elephants