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The History of the JA & JA2 Families
The JA family is one of the best known of the 64 elephant families in Amboseli. It is a favorite of many of the researchers who have worked on the Amboseli Elephant Research Project. I think we all like the family so much because it was, for 19 years of the study, led by the magnificent matriarch Jezebel. She died in her late 50s in 1993 and at the time was one of the oldest elephants in the population. She had beautiful, long, elegantly curved tusks, which were exceptional for a female. In fact, Jezebel's tusks caused confusion at the very beginning of the study.
My colleague Harvey Croze and I first met Jezebel and her family on February 24, 1974. We photographed the adult females and some of the juveniles and when we developed and printed the pictures we gave the adult females names: Jezebel, Jessica and Juliet.
Some months before this we had found a large aggregation of elephants and had photographed as many individuals as we could, including adult males. One handsome male was given the number M5. We pasted his picture in the male recognition file. It wasn't until sometime in 1975 that I noticed that this "male" was Jezebel. The photograph just showed the head, ears and tusks from head on; with her large tusks Jezebel looked like a bull!
The JA family lives on the western side of the Park and moves outside the boundaries to the southwest towards and into Tanzania. In April 1974, when we were trying to get information on the movements of the Amboseli elephants, we radio-collared three females. One of these was Sona the matriarch of the SB family. It turned out that the JAs and SBs formed a bond group along with the YAs. We did not know this at the time we darted Sona. She just happened to be the female we came upon when we were looking for a western elephant. In fact we had not even seen this family before. She was named after she was darted. Once we started following her we realized that she had a special relationship with Jezebel and her family and with another family led by a very large, old female whom I called Yolanda. These three families moved together much of the time.
To read the whole history of the JAs and JA2s open the attachment.