Born in 1969, Qaboos was a member of the so-called QB family. They were first sighted and photographed in 1976 by Cynthia Moss, a pioneering elephant researcher working along Amboseli Trust For Elephants.

She noticed that the family was quite small and very nervous, and that they had no calves under the age of seven years old, which meant they had gone through some rough times. She spotted a large female but realised that she could not be the mother of the younger individuals as they were too similar in age. Their own mothers must have been killed during  a severe period of poaching in the 1970s.

By the 1990, Qaboos had gone independent as all young males do and he grew up to be a very impressive bull. One of the striking things about the QB family was that they had a very skewed sex ratio with 14 females and three males. The overall ratio at birth is 1:1.

Qaboos started coming into musth (a highly hormonal period of mating) in his late 20s and was very active in pursuing females and challenging other musth males. Cynthia Moss was lucky enough to see a serious fight between Sioma and Qaboos and much to her surprise Qaboos won despite the fact that he was 19 years younger than Sioma (see picture below).

The 2009 drought challenged all Amboseli families and the older animals were not spared either: of the females in the whole population over 50 years old only two survived. Over half of the matriarchs died. The QBs lost a number of family members, sadly Qaboos was one of them – almost certainly poached, due to size of his tusks.

The photo shows two bulls in full musth fight: Sioma (left) and Qaboos (right).

Photo credit and text: Cynthia Moss, Amboseli Trust For Elephants