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The History of the PA Family
The PA family has always been big and fluid and frequently confusing. It was the first family in the population to permanently split into two; there have been others since then but it is not a common occurrence. Up until 1982 the Ps, as they were called then, made up the largest family in the Amboseli population. They were a magnificent group when my colleague Harvey Croze and I first saw them on October 20, 1973. There were so many big adult females that it was all we could do to just photograph them on that day. Two months later Iain Douglas Hamilton went to Amboseli and took several rolls of film of a big elephant herd and turned the film over to us. Most of the herd consisted of the Ps and Iain's photos helped us sort out the various females and their calves. However, it was not really until 1975 and 1976 that I got to know them well.
When I began to live in the Park in September 1975 I knew the Ps contained at least six big females and two teenaged females. All these animals were named. We decided that Penelope was the matriarch because she usually led the group and the others seemed to orient towards her. The next largest was a left one tusk animal we called Phoebe, then there were four medium sized females: Philomena, Patricia, Phyllis and Polly. One of the teenaged females had been named Pick, because she had a funny little right tusk, and the other was called Pamela. Pick appeared to be Phoebe's daughter and Pamela Philomena's.
One day I was out in the Park and found what I thought was a completely new group. I photographed them, assigned them the letter "Z" and named the two adult females that were present Zoya and Zelda. Over the next months Zelda was found with the Ps on almost every sighting, so I decided I had made a mistake and renamed her Priscilla. She was the seventh adult female in the P family.
To read the full story open the attachment.