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The History of the SA Family
The SA family was the third group sighted and photographed on the very first day of the Amboseli elephant study on September 1, 1972. The first group was designated the AAs; the second the BAs; and the third should have been the CAs, but it ended up being the SAs. The matriarch of this third group was originally called 'Cynthia' by my co worker Harvey Croze, but for some convoluted reason which I can't remember today the other adult females were given names starting with 'S', Sandy and Shirley, and thus it became the SA family. Eventually, in order to conform with the other names and because I always felt it was not fitting to have an elephant named after me, at least not in the Amboseli population, I changed Cynthia's name to Sabina.
Actually I needn't have worried too much, because poor Cynthia/Sabina did not live for that much longer. During the part time phase of the study I saw her three times, the last occasion on New Year's Day 1974. After that she disappeared. Sabina was a wonderful female with huge, extremely smooth ears without a nick or hole in them. She was much older than anyone else in the family and I therefore guessed that she was the mother and probably the grandmother of some of the younger females.
The SA family turned out to be very tolerant of vehicles and for this reason I was able to get a good idea of who belonged in the group early on in the study. In fact on that New Year's Day I was able to sex the individuals, make good age estimates, and take photos of the family. There were "9 exact" in the group, as my notes read, and the structure looked like this:
Adult female Sabina 2-3 year male calf 6-8 year male calf Adult female Sandy 4-5 year female calf Adolescent female, 10-12 years old Shirley 8-10 year old female with one right tusk 8-10 year old male 7-8 year old female calf
To read the full history open the attachment.