FB Family

Freda was a real character, and probably the longest serving matriarch we have ever known. Born around 1945, she was already a big, experienced female when she was identified on the second day of the study in 1972, and she led her family until she died in 2009. The family has had plenty of drama, using areas that have brought them into repeated conflict with Maasai over the years. Freda’s dominant personality was probably both a blessing and a curse in these interactions; she never backed down and always defended her family.

Felicity has a completely different kind of personality; a calm elephant who provides a relaxing foil to feisty Fanny. Despite their different natures, there is a strong bond between them, and when the family is all together and resting, Fanny and Felicity are often to be found close to one another.

With 27 members the family is now medium-sized, although that will change as it includes a number of male calves who will soon leave the family and become independent. This family has several young healthy calves who are growing fast and learning about their environment. The calves are all very playful, these play sessions are important for their growth and development. Often they are so worn out that you find everyone flops down to rest together, only for the game to begin again as they wriggle against one another. It isn’t easy to get a nap with so many fun playmates around!

Fanny and Felicity are the oldest females and they guide the family decisions, but they aren’t the only ones to have an opinion; many of the younger females often try to influence the family’s movements and activities, although not always successfully. It makes the FBs a dynamic and interesting family to watch while negotiations and friendships develop. Their persistence can be amazing; Flossy recently spent an hour persuading a sleepy family that it was time to go and find a drink.


“Elephants form deep bonds with each other, which last for decades. Elephant survival is strongly affected by access to the social and ecological knowledge that older elephants hold; where to go, what to eat, how to avoid danger.”
- Dr. Cynthia Moss

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