Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups of related females called a herd. The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd, called a matriarch. Herds consist of 8-100 individuals depending on terrain and family size. When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Males leave the family unit between the ages of 12-15 and may lead solitary lives or live temporarily with other males.
Habitat loss is one of the key threats facing elephants. Many climate change projections indicate that key portions of elephants’ habitat will become significantly hotter and drier, resulting in poorer foraging conditions and threatening calf survival. Increasing conflict with human populations taking over more and more elephant habitat and poaching for ivory are additional threats that are placing the elephant’s future at risk.
At the turn of the 20th century, there were a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are an estimated 450,000 – 700,000 African elephants and between 35,000 – 40,000 wild Asian elephants.
Amboseli National Park is one of Maryam’s favorite places to visit when she is in southern Kenya. Stretching over 150 square miles, Amboseli has a unique landscape that ranges from dry, desert-like grounds to luscious green grass and bodies of water. This elephant was photographed in the drylands, where Maryam caught him standing tall. He appears to be looking down, perhaps the artist captured the perfect cameo.
The diamond dust that is placed elegantly creates the illusion of the winds blowing through the drylands. The flower that is placed over the elephant’s backside is covered in 24 karat gold leaf and give the artwork a 3- dimensional feel.