Name That Elephant: How to Identify Elephants in the Wild

Like Mothers Like Daughters

Photograph Courtesy of ElephantVoices

Photograph Courtesy of ElephantVoices


As with other mammals, mothers and their children may look similar. In this family portrait taken in Amboseli, the mother elephant, Echo (far right) shares many physical characteristics with her daughters, Erin (to her immediate left) and Enid. This mother-daughter trio all have long tusks, Poole said, with the right one slightly higher than the left.

Citizen Science in Action

Photograph Courtesy of Kerstin Bucher

Photograph Courtesy of Kerstin Bucher

Kerstin Bucher, the German anesthesiologist and citizen scientist, named this female Tumaini, meaning “Hope” in Swahili. “She is really easy to recognize due to her remarkable tusks, especially the left one which is up curved and higher,” Bucher said. “I think everybody knows her as the female with the wonky left tusk!”

Photograph Courtesy of Kerstin Bucher

Photograph Courtesy of Kerstin Bucher


Bucher named her favorite elephant matriarch, Sian, through the ElephantVoices project. “She is not the largest elephant cow I have ever seen in my life, but she is definitely the most beautiful and most dignified matriarch.”

Learn more about the ElephantVoices project in the Mara.

Joyce Poole has created a video tutorial about identifying elephants and using the database.

About William Louis Gardner

William Louis Gardner was born in Minnesota and finished school there. He joined the US Air Force and worked at the Pentagon in the Target Library of the world. Went on to the Pasadena Playhouse to learn television and movie making. He got a job with actress Marion Davies at her home. There He met a movie agent and started a career in Hollywood. William Louis Gardner has worked in Hollywood as the agent, personal secretary, PR advisor and manager for for Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Jill St.John, Bobby Van and director, John Huston. William Gardner is the author of two books, "Confessions of a Hollywood Agent," and "The Games End." William on GooglePlus
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