Death of Echo

I have some very sad news to relay. Echo died today at 2:42pm in Amboseli. She collapsed yesterday morning and was unable to get up. ATE staff Katito and Robert stayed with her the whole time. We believe she died from a combination of old age and the long three-year drought Amboseli has been experiencing. Echo was probably the best known wild elephant in the world because she featured in three BBC documentaries about her and her family: Echo of the Elephants; Echo of the Elephants, the Next Generation; and Echo of the Elephants, the Final Chapter? as well as the book Echo of the Elephants. In addition she was in many other films, most recently the film about Martyn Colbeck’s work called An Eye for An Elephant., and photographs of her have been seen around the world.I arrived in the US a few days ago to start a fund-raising tour so I was not there for Echo’s passing. I’m cancelling my trip and flying back to Kenya tomorrow. I need to be with my staff who are devastated and also to start observing the family to see how they will react to the loss of their matriarch. Echo was the leader of her family for at least 36 years. When we first recorded her in 1973 her family numbered seven. At her death it numbered 40. For all of them, except for her sister El la, Echo was the only leader they have ever known. The loss will be very disturbing and disrupting for them. For us on the Amboseli Elephant Research Project she has been an invaluable research subject providing us with insights into elephant behavior, leadership, communication, social relations and intelligence. But she was more than that. She was a daily presence, almost a companion to all of us. She gave us joy and filled us with wonder.
Cynthia Moss blog at

May 3, 2009

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  1. Trish Kirk
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Blessings to all who knew and loved Echo. Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing her life with the world, so that we, too, could love her as well, and feel her devastating loss with you….

  2. Christine C.
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Echo…my sympathy to all of you…She sounds like she was a strong leader and I am sure she passed those traits on to the members of her family.

  3. Dana-Phoenix Arizona
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I am so sorry and sad for your, Echo’s family loss. She was quite a matriarch and Amboseli will not be the same without this beautiful elephant. Rest in peace Echo.

  4. Kota Viviers
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I’m very sad to read about the death of Echo. I’ve only recently started watching the Amboseli Elephants on animal planet and enjoyed it. I am originally from South Africa and always loved animals and in particular elephants. My favourite game reserve that I’ve been to is Etosha where I could sit for hours watching the elephants. Amazing how they can be so big and yet so graceful. I also remember a series on Etosha elephants where the matriarch lost 2 calves in a matter of days due to anthrax. When the heard came back months later she stopped where one of them died and was crying whilst caressing the skull, enough to make me cry, same as while I was watching Amboseli’s elephants and where one of the females was put to sleep because of a spear wound. Being a doctor I know it’s part of the circle of life, but it does not make it easier. My one dream is to one day visit Kenya and see the elephants close up.
    It is a sad day for all elephant lovers and especially for you and your staff, but thanks to you the elephants will live on. I am personally looking forward to hear and see more about the elephants of Amboseli and maybe one day may be able to see them from close up and not just on tv.
    Kind regards
    Kota Viviers

  5. Alyse
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    It is unfortunate that Echo died before I could meet her even I was preparing to visit Amboseli to meet this great elephant. I am deeply touched as a lover of animals. RIP Echo.

  6. Dale
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I was very unsettled after finding out Echo died. I love this elephant since I started watching her on Animal Planet. I cannot wait to know how her family are coping and who is likely to be the next matriarch. Thanks Cynthia and the rest of your staff for all your efforts with the Elephants of Amboseli. Dale Roberts

  7. nick basques
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Yes it was very sad that Echo died. She’s been with me my entire life. I started watching Echo at the age of 18 months of age. I’m 12 now. I’ve kept track of Echo and the family as well as I could. I’ve read some of the coments last night and I started crying

    I thank Cynthia and the reast of the team for letting Echo into our lives. Echo was and always will be Queen of elephants.
    She will be missed.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] Moss in a communication to WildlifeDirect also posted in the ATE website. Moss will be observing how the elephants handle the transition from […]

  2. […] Moss in a communication to WildlifeDirect also posted in the ATE website. Moss will be observing how the elephants handle the transition from […]

  3. […] Moss in een bericht aan WildlifeDirect [en], dat ook geplaatst is op de website van ATE. Moss zal gaan bekijken hoe de olifanten omgaan […]

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