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The History of the FB Family
Freda of the FBs had one of the longest reigns as matriarch of any of the families in Amboseli. She was there when the family was first sighted on the second day of the project on September 2, 1972 and she continued as matriarch until she died in 2009. That made her very special to us. Freda’s family is one of the best-known in the population. I have continuous records of its births and deaths, good times and bad times over the past 38 years.
In those first days Harvey Croze and I were trying to contact as many groups of elephants as possible and photograph at least the adult members. We drove out to the western part of the Park crossing the causeway over the Enkongu Narok swamp. Just along the shore we found a group of cows and calves. Unfortunately, they were disappearing into the deep swamp, but we managed to get a few photographs. When we developed the rolls of film in Nairobi we identified two females—one adult and one sub-adult—we assumed belonged to a single family. On that first trip we had seen and photographed seven definite families each of which we gave a letter of the alphabet. The first group was called the "A" family; the sixth group was given the letter “F”. We named the larger female Freda and the younger one Fay.
At that time we were working part-time and didn’t see Freda and Fay again for four months and once again we could not see them well. We saw them one more time and then finally on October 5, 1973 we were able to spend some time with them and get better photos. They seemed to be in a sub-group of four within a larger group. In addition to Freda and Fay there was a tuskless female whom we named Flora. We noted that Freda had a female calf who appeared to be about 3-4 years old. From their ages we suspected that Fay and Flora were also Freda’s daughters, but we could not be sure.
It would not be until the following year that we got a better idea of the composition of the family. We also had to make the decision that there were actually two F families. We had lumped all the individuals we had seen together as one family but subsequent sightings revealed that there were two and possibly even three families. The section with Freda, Fay and Flora became the FBs. Later we assigned another sub-adult female to this family and named her Felicity. By the end of 1975 we had seen these individuals 26 times. We decided that the FB family consisted of the following five individuals:
Freda Adult F around 25-30 years old Fanny F Calf about 6 years old Fay Young F around 10 years old Flora Tuskless F around 14 years old Felicity Young F around 11 years old
To read the full history open the attachment.