ATE has a unique donor naming programme for people who want to become more intimately involved in the research project. Since 1988 we have offered supporters the chance to name an elephant, choosing the unique ID tag that we follow that individual with over their lifetime. Unlike other adoption schemes where many people become involved with the same individual, choosing a name for an Amboseli elephant is a unique event. Names are never, ever changed; it is for life (and beyond).
Because this is a such an important marker for our research, we have some rules about names. Firstly, and most importantly, no name can ever be repeated.
Each of the 57 Amboseli Families has a two-letter code (AA, AB, AB, BB, CA, CB etc.), and all the family members have names beginning with the first family letter; e.g. in the A families we have Alison, Agatha, Amelia and Anastasia. There are no longer any N families, because they both went extinct when all the females died.
We generally don’t name calves until they are four years old, when they have survived the period of highest mortality risk. Before that the calf has a code name based on it’s mother’s name and year of birth. However, for the naming program we will name younger calves on the understanding that not every young elephant will grow to adulthood.
When your calf has been named, we will send you a naming pack containing a photograph, a naming certificate and a history of the calf’s family and mother. The namer will also get periodic updates when your calf has exciting family events, such as the birth of a new sibling.
Many of the common Christian names have already been used, and we can only use each name once, so we recommend nicknames or unusual spellings. It’s best to choose three alternatives, so that we can select a calf for you; please also tell us if it matters whether the calf is male or female.
To name an Amboseli elephant we ask for a donation of $2500. A PDF brochure is available here > Download Brochure.
Bequest & Other Donations