National Geographic : 2008 Sep
MATERNAL DISAPPROVAL Males will attempt to mate with any female in estrus, but a large bull can injure a small female when mounting her-breaking one of her legs, for instance, beneath his weight. After a three-day pursuit, Leopold tries with an eight-year-old from the First Ladies and is thwarted by her mother, Mary Todd Lincoln, and other females. Later, Mary Todd sanctioned her daughter's mating with a younger, smaller bull. SHOWING RESPECT Boone, a formidable bull who spends most of his time east of the Samburu reserve, visits the Poetics and is met with embraces by Maya, the matriarch, and her eldest daughter. This is not, or not directly, about sex; neither female is in estrus. They seem to be merely expressing appreciation for an estimable individual, a fine male, who probably contributed genes to their lineage and may again. LEISURE TIME Two of the Royals get afternoon shade, and a bit of scratching, beneath an acacia near the river. Their family is one of the more dominant, giving them first claim on good habitat. Dominant families tend to spend more time within the reserve and along the river and occupy smaller home ranges. Less movement through insecure areas means less exposure to risks such as falling afoul of farmers and herders. ADOPTIVE MOTHER Saturn, an elderly mother herself, cares for two calves orphaned by the deaths of their mothers, who were her adult daughters. The extended family structure helps groups cope with such losses. At sunset along a river channel Saturn oversees the play of her own two calves and the orphans. From her behavior alone, uniformly doting, you couldn't know which was which.