“If I hadn’t looked upon her with my own eyes, I might not have believed that such an elephant could exist in our world.”
Photographer takes stunning photos of the ‘Elephant Queen’ – one of Africa’s last remaining ‘Super Tuskers’ who has sadly passed away at the age of 60.
The ‘Elephant Queen’ had roamed Kenya’s plains in Tsavo for just over 60 years and had a peaceful life. She was one of the last of an extremely rare breed, the ‘Super Tuskers’- they are known by this name because their tusks are so long that they reach the ground.
They have always been at the centre of elephant poachers in the past decades, and now there are only 30 of them left in our world, which are being protected 7/24 a day by Kenya’s Wildlife Security forces.
British photographer Will Burrard Lucas has shared with the world some of the last images of the ‘Queen’; who shortly after died of natural causes.
Will Burrard said to Newsbeat Magazine:
“If there were a Queen of Elephants, it would surely have been her.”
The photos of the Queen – also known as F_MU1 – were taken in partnership with Kenya’s Tsavo Truts and the project lasted for approximately 18 months, which ended in August 2017.
Will writes in his blog:
“When I first saw her I was awestruck, for she had the most amazing tusks I had ever seen.
Her tusks were so long that they scraped the ground in front of her. She was like a relic from a bygone era.”
Will Burrard said when he first met her he was ‘speechless’ who, although looked skinny and old, ‘strode forward with stately grace’.
Speaking of his time photographing the Elephant Queen, Burrard-Lucas describes the opportunity as ‘incredibly rare’ and something he will treasure forever.
Will also said:
“As a wildlife photographer, a subject like F_MU1 is incredibly rare; a creature that is unique – possibly the most remarkable of her kind – and yet an animal that few have photographed before. The time I spent with her was a real privilege.”
The last photo he took of the elephant was at a waterhole, along with other elephants and a large herd of buffalo – both groups were battling for control of the waterhole.
“She had survived through periods of terrible poaching and it was a victory that her life was not ended prematurely by a snare, bullet or poisoned arrow,” he says.
Dr Mark Jones from the Born Free wildlife charity said:
“Because these animals are all-too-often taken out before they have reached their reproductive prime, Super-Tusker genes are being bred out of elephant populations, and we could very well be seeing the last of them.”
As reported by the BBC, super tuskers are regarded as extremely special and unique, and so inevitably attract the unwanted attention of ivory poachers.
Will’s photographs feature in a new book Land Of Giants.
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