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Keepers give lioness Julie full MOT at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Tributes have been paid to the world’s largest tusked female African elephant who has died of natural causes in her 60s.
Dida was a much-loved matriarch known as the Queen of Tsavo after her Tsavo East National Park home in Kenya.
She is thought to have been between 60 and 65 years old and was only one of just 15 female African elephants with tusks so large they reached the ground.
During the course of her lifetime Dida starred in wildlife documentaries and became a tourist attraction.
A spokesman for the Tsavo Trust paid tribute to the imposing presence and legacy Dida leaves in the park.
He said: “Dida, the area’s best-loved matriarch and the greatest repository of many decades worth of knowledge, has sadly passed today.
“Today is a sad day but we remain positive that the work we are doing with our joint Big Tusker project with Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) is working.
“Dida died naturally of old age, in fact, she surprised us all. She lived longer than many of us thought she would. To us allowing an elephant to live its full life is something, we are very proud of.
“Dida was the true embodiment of an iconic cow. Over the course of her long life, she shepherded her herd through many difficult times.
“She was the inspiration for documentarians and the pull for tourists. She will be remembered as well by those of us who got to know her through photos and videos as by those of us who had the absolute pleasure to see her in the flesh.
“She will be even better remembered by the many generations of Tsavo’s elephant who will benefit, for years to come, from the lessons they learnt as they watched their matriarch pass her careful judgment. An elephant never forgets.”
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) hailed her as an “iconic matriarch” famed for her long tusks.
KWS paid tribute on Twitter: “A matriach has rested. We are saddened by the death of Dida who was possibly Africa’s largest female Tusker and a Matriarch residing in Tsavo East National Park. She died from natural causes due to old age having lived a full life to about 60-65 years old.
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“Dida was a truly an iconic matriarch of Tsavo and a great repository of many decades worth of knowledge.
“She shepherd her herd through many seasons and challenging times. She served as both the subject to various documentaries and an iconic tourist attraction.
“Those who got to know her through pictures and videos as well as those who had the exquisite pleasure of meeting her in person will remember her. Rest Well Dida.”
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