Item Number: 1734LR
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ABOUT THE IMAGE:
is Thomas D. Mangelsen’s most engaging and celebrated photograph of a long line of elephants marching across the dusty flats of Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. It’s also a tribute to a famous pachyderm mother named Joyce, matriarch to a much beloved sub-herd known as the “JA Family”. Their legacy as one of the most studied groups of elephants is especially poignant as poaching and habitat loss continue to reduce elephant numbers across Africa.
Cynthia Moss, founder and director of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in 1972, is a huge admirer of the image, which she calls historic. “When you look at this 1994 Mangelsen photograph, Joyce had just taken over the role of matriarch because the JA's glorious old matriarch Jezebel had died in November 1993,” Moss says. Joyce was named after Joyce Poole who began her research career collaborating with Cynthia in 1975. “At the time Joyce was estimated to be 53 years old so she was an experienced female well qualified to be a matriarch. She led her family successfully over the next 16 years until a devastating drought, along with a resurgence of poaching, hit Amboseli in 2009. Joyce died in April of that year. We suspect she was poached because of her beautiful tusks. We never found her carcass.”
But Mangelsen’s photograph remains a powerful touchstone and a celebration of the most glorious land mammals on Earth, “I love this artful photo,” Moss notes, “everything about it down to the swaying tails, captured as if in synchrony.”