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Photo gallery for The History of the RA Family
The RA family has always been a fascinating if frustrating group. To this day I am not sure if certain animals I have given "R" names to are really members of the RA or XA families. I'm also not sure which clan area the RAs should be assigned to. The only thing I can say with confidence is that the history of the RAs has not been clear and simple.
I first met the RAs' matriarch on the western side of the Park on October 5, 1973. A colleague and I were with the KA family, which was walking casually past the vehicle while I photographed them, when a left tusked female with a five-year-old calf appeared and began demonstrating at the car. She charged, but carefully kept a large bush between herself and the car, indicating that she was not being seriously aggressive. After a couple of mock charges she peered at us from over the bush looking a little ridiculous with her one, short, left tusk. Her calf was frightened by her mother's nervousness. We managed to get some poor photographs of both of them on this day.
I saw this left tusked female two more times that October: one time on her own at the edge of a known group and another time in a large aggregation of over 50. I only saw her twice in 1974 (this was still during the time I was in Amboseli only part-time), again once on her own near a small group and then with a large herd. Fortunately, she was easy to recognize, but no grouping or ranging pattern was emerging. Of the five times I had seen her, she was on the west side of the Park three times and on the east twice. Even though I did not know much about her I assigned her the family letter code "R" and named her Remedios. (It was at that time that I was reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and I liked the names in his book.)
In August 1975 just before I began the full time study, I found Remedios with a new calf about two months old. From this time on I saw Remedios regularly. She appeared to associate with a variety of animals but finally there seemed to be some consistency in the associations. Her own older calf, now seven years old, and three other young females were usually with her. I named these females Renata, Rachel and Ruth and Remedios’s older calf was eventually named Rebecca.
To read the full history open the attachment.