Dida, believed to have been Africa’s largest female elephant, has died of old age, Kenyan wildlife officials said on Tuesday.
The female elephant was between 60 and 65 years and famous for her long tusks. “She died from natural causes due to old age,” Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said on Twitter. Dida lived in Tsavo East National Park, the largest protected area in Kenya.
“Dida was a truly an iconic matriarch of Tsavo. She shepherded her herd through many seasons and challenging times. She served as both the subject to various documentaries and an iconic tourist attraction,” KWS said.
Female elephants often live in intimate families with young calves at their side, while bulls prefer to be more solitary.
A matriach has rested 🐘— Kenya Wildlife Service (@kwskenya) November 1, 2022
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
Dida’s death comes only a month after another iconic elephant, Monsoon, died in Kenya. Monsoon survived being shot five times but didn’t survive the extreme drought in northern Kenya.
In the north, the drought is so bad that wild elephants scramble for food in a landscape that looks like a desert, animal welfare organization Save the Elephants said when Monsson died.
The last four rainy seasons have failed in Kenya, Ethopoia and Somalia. Experts say that calves and older elephants are the first to suffer due to long-term drought.
Broadcaster NTV Kenya shared a video of an emaciated elephant dying from hunger in a village in Meru.