The GBs were first identified by Dr Cynthia Moss in 1976, back then they were a relatively small family that suffered greatly during the droughts of the 70s and 80s. However, they have had some very wise matriarchs, and with this leadership they have grown to be tremendously successful.
Their current Matriarch is a tuskless female called Golda, a descendant of another tuskless matriarch called Gloria. The GBs have had several tuskless or ‘one tusked’ females, indicating a genetic tendency for tuskless elephants. In 2000 the GBs suffered a terrible loos when their beloved matriarch Gloria passed away of natural causes. The death of a matriarch always causes major change in a family. Gloria had been their leader for at least 26 years, possibly longer. She was an excellent matriarch who led her family through some very unfavorable environmental conditions. Following her death a two-tusked female named Geraldine was the next oldest at 52 and she took over as matriarch.
However, some interesting dynamics occurred. Apparently Geraldine and Grace, who was the next oldest after her, did not form a close bond and in fact, they did not seem to get along. As a result Grace left the family with her offspring and created her own family, which we eventually called the GB2s.
In2009 Kenya endured another terrible drought, many wild animals died, especially the youngest and oldest of the population. Many families lost their matriarchs during these tough times. Gladys died during this drought and left Golda in charge at the age of 37 years old. Golda did something we have never seen a matriarch do – she reunited with the other GB portion of the family, led by Gail who seems to really respect Golda.
This family is interesting, endearing, gentle, and loyal. They have taught us so much over the years and we hope that they will teach you more about wild elephant lives!