Famed for her long tusks and popular with tourists, the majestic matriarch was aged between 60 and 65 years – well beyond the average life expectancy for an elephant in the wild.
A matriach has rested 🐘
We are saddened by the death of Dida who was possibly Africa’s largest female Tusker and a Matriarch residing in @KWSTsavoEast National Park. She died from natural causes due to old age having lived a full life to about 60-65 years old. pic.twitter.com/914FMPKLoF
Popularly known among conservationists and tourists as “the queen of Tsavo”, Dida lived in the expansive Tsavo East National Park in Kenya’s southeast. Tsavo forms the largest protected area in the wildlife-rich country.
“Dida was a truly iconic matriarch of Tsavo and a great repository of many decades worth of knowledge,” the KWS said, adding that she was the subject of many documentaries.
“She shepherd[ed] her herd through many seasons and challenging times.”
Female elephants often live in close-knit families with young calves at their side, while bulls tend to be more solitary.
Conservation group Tsavo Trust eulogised Dida as a “true embodiment of an iconic cow” who will be remembered by future generations of elephants.
“She will be better remembered … from the lessons they learnt as they watched their matriarch pass her careful judgement,” it wrote on Facebook.
“An elephant never forgets.”
Older elephants and young calves are the first to succumb to prolonged drought, experts say.