It’s a sad day in Kenya as locals mourn the death of Dida, the Queen of Tsavo. Dida, who passed away of old age on October 31st, lived to be an estimated 60 to 65 years old. The elderly matron was known as a matriarch within the Tsavo East National Park, Kenya Wildlife Services tweeted. Wild elephants are known for long life spans, typically living to the ripe old age of 60 and 70 years. In captivity, the world’s largest land mammals are usually dead before the age of 40 — which is another reason we should be rethinking placing them within the confines of zoos.
In addition to her living as long as she did, Dida was also famous for her iconic tusks, which can prove fatal for elephants in the wild because of poaching. Thought to possibly be the continent’s largest female “tusker” at the time of her death, these animals are equipped with ivory so ginormous they frequently scrape the ground. Elephants residing within protected parks and preserves have a better chance of survival, which is probably how Dida made it as long as she did. While conservation efforts in Africa have improved significantly over the years, poachers still outnumber conservationists, and it’s not wholly unusual for them to lose their lives protecting the creatures under their stewardship.
The Tsavo Trust, a nonprofit working to protect at-risk species in Kenya’s Tsavo conservation area, took the opportunity to celebrate the queen’s time on Earth along with other organizations. Citing Dida as the area’s “best-loved matriarch and the greatest repository of many decades worth of knowledge,” the trust admitted Dida surprised them by growing as old as she did. At the same time, they noted that an elephant living as full a life as hers is something its members are “very proud of” and that younger generations of elephants will remember her for her wisdom because she imparted upon them her careful judgment.
Drought in Africa
East Africa, like many other parts of the world, has been suffering from drought, which has led to the deaths of more than 100 elephants this year. Calling it the worst they’ve seen in 40 years, its impacts have been staggering. If issues like these touch a nerve with you, consider signing up with GreaterGood’s Project Peril, where you can learn more about all the ways humans can make a difference. In the meantime, “Lala salama, Dida,” which means “Sleep safe, Dida” in Swahili.Whizzco