In the final years of her life, wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas had the incredible opportunity to meet the ‘Queen of Elephants,’ AKA F MU1, in Tsavo, Kenya.
Burrard-Lucas was already working with the Tsavo Trust on a project to photograph elephants in the Tsavo area.
F MU1, also known as the Queen-of-Elephants, was discovered while he was researching the area. He was told she has a calm demeanor and is a magnificent creature.
They finally found her after a several-day search, and this is how he remembers it:
“I caught-a-glimpse of an elephant’s back through the bushes, and she stepped out into the open seconds later.”
“I couldn’t say anything. F MU1 was frail and elderly, but she strode forward with poise. Her tusks scraped the ground in front of her because they were so long. She looked like a relic from another era.”
They stayed with her all day, and she took them to her favorite watering hole, where she patiently awaited her turn to bathe.
She made it this far despite the dangers of poaching, droughts, and other natural threats, as every picture captured her true majesty, every wrinkle representing a victory of time over the dangers of poaching, droughts, and other natural threats.
Sadly, she died just weeks after Burrard-Lucas took these photographs, most likely from natural causes. Thankfully, these photographs have preserved her memory.
She designed the cover for Burrard Lucas’s book, Land of Giants, which tells the story of an elephant’s life in the Tvaso region over several years.
Her long and prosperous life is a testament to the Tsavo Trust’s and Kenyan Wildlife Services’ tireless efforts to protect these magnificent creatures.
“As a wildlife-photographer, a subject like F MU1 is incredibly rare,” says Burrard Lucas of the experience.
“A creature that is one-of-a-kind–possibly the most remarkable of her kind–yet one that few have ever photographed.” It was a true honor to spend-time with her.”
The end result is Land of Giants, a book filled with photographs of Tsavo’s large tusk elephants.