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About Tulip - a message from a friend

Our post about the death of Tulip led friend, supporter and wildlife (especially elephants) sculptor, Doug Aja, to send us an e-mail with a few photos. Doug has visited our home in Kenya and Amboseli many times, and he met Tulip during visits in 1998 and in 2004, just after she was speared.

Joyce with  Tulip, 1998. (©Doug Aja) The first two photographs were taken in 1998 when Doug was out watching elephants with Joyce. Tulip was over 100 meters away when Joyce disgarded a fingernail-sized piece of overripe banana out the window. Tulip lifted her head, turned and sniffed. "Yummy, I know that smell from the good old days raiding tents with my mum," she must have thought. She did a swift 3-point turn and made her way rapidly toward us. You can see the concern on Joyce's face in the mirror of the car as she realizes her mistake! After that experience Joyce learned never to underestimate the ability of an elephant to detect a scent of interest. Tulip came right up, stretched her trunk to full length, snatched the smush of banana and popped it into her mouth.

Tulip 1998.  (©Doug Aja)Tulip in 2004, after having been speared.  (©Doug Aja)Doug writes: "I'm really saddened to hear about Tulip. The TAs have been my favorite family and she had become my favorite elephant. Probably because they have had such a struggle over the past decades. I tend to pull for the underdog. Along with the EBs and any large bull, they are always the elephants I most want to see while in Amboseli. One of my fondest memories was the late afternoon, while out with you ten years ago, spent with them. There had been good rains and the park was green with plenty of food. It seemed like such a relaxed and peaceful time. Attached are some photos of her."

People like Doug and the many other people reading our blog give us the inspiration to continue our work, despite the discouragement we sometimes feel living in a world where elephants and other species struggle for survival against such odds. The photos are all taken by Doug. The two first ones in 1998, the close-up of her face and trunk is taken after she was speared in January 2004.


Cheers, Petter & Joyce