See below the last photographs of the Elephant Queen, one of Africa’s last remaining ‘super tusker’s. The elephant lived in Kenya.
British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas captured some incredible images of the elephant known as F_MU1 in Tsavo, Kenya, just a little while before she died of natural causes. He spent 18 months on the project in partnership with Tsavo Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service. The F_MU1 was one of Africa’s last ‘super tuskers’ – so named because of the long tusks that touch the ground. There are now only about 30 left.
While talking to BBC Newsbeat, Burrard-Lucas said, “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”. He added, “If there were a Queen of Elephants, it would surely have been her.”
Writing on his blog about his experience, Burrard-Lucas said, “F_MU1 was skinny and old but she strode forward with stately grace. Her tusks were so long that they scraped the ground in front of her. She was like a relic from a bygone era.”
He added, “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”. A 50-year-old super-tusker called Satao II was killed two years ago near the Tsavo National Park border. Talking about the experience of photographing these animals, Burrard-Lucas wrote, “It was a feeling of privilege and euphoria that will stay with me forever.”
Dr. M Jones from the Born Free wildlife charity said, “Super tuskers are very rare these days, precisely because their big tusks makes them prime targets for trophy hunters. 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.”
The full story of his trips can be found on his blog, and his experiences are documented in the video below.