Monday, October 18, 2010
“Echo” was a mother many times over. She “grew in age and wisdom,” becoming the matriarch of her large family, all of whom depended on her. She died at age 65.
During her lifetime, Echo’s family, like most others, experienced hard times. Sometimes they wanted for food; at other times, enemies attacked them. One of Echo’s babies was born with a severe physical handicap, and one of her sisters became very ill after being poisoned.
Using knowledge that had come down to her through the ages, Echo led the way through all that befell her family, often modeling how others in the clan might behave. She took tender care of her son, Eli, showing patience and loyalty, staying with him when others moved ahead. He recovered from his grave leg impairment.
Knowing her sister could not recover, Echo left her so others in the family might live. When a baby was kidnapped by enemies, Echo led her family to take her back.
When Echo died last year of natural causes, her family grieved. One daughter was so traumatized, she stayed with the body long beyond the usual time.
Echo’s traits – intelligence, loyalty, devotion, maternal love and leadership – made her famous in her own lifetime. She lived in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, with her extended clan of elephants. A scientist who had watched Echo for decades said she “was a lovely being. She gave us a lot of joy. She was a wonder.”