ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Elsa’s Grave, the Resting Place of a Proud Lioness

Updated on September 18, 2013

The human race has been able to survive for millennia due to its ability to culturally adapt. Humans are able to re-adjust to new environments, and create technologies for the production of ever more food for their survival. This is not the case with animals because their adaptation is biological and easily smothered by human needs to the extent that wildlife will one day cease to exist. There is a race against time for animals whose very survival is drawing to a close. Against this background are relationships which humans have with animals, some based on physical survival for both species, some based on predatory behavior, others on economic dependence, and yet others on psychological dependence. This latter relationship can be said to be a combination of an ecologistic, humanistic, as well as a moralistic attitude in that the overriding concerns are how animals interact with other animals, an affection for the animals, and the view that animals deserve to be treated with dignity.


A
Meru National Park:
Meru National Park, Kenya

get directions

Elsa was laid to rest in Meru National Park in 1961

Not many human beings are so charitable but two conservationists took into their care a lion cub whose very survival was in peril. Through the care of Joy and George Adamson, Elsa the Lioness lived from 1956 to 1961. The story of Elsa has been recounted in books, documentaries, songs, and movies, but at the Meru National Park, her grave resides as a permanent reminder to Kenyans and tourists of her role in the conservation of wildlife, and the importance of human-wildlife co-existence.

Elsa's Grave
Elsa's Grave | Source

Elsa the Lioness

Imagine you are a lion cub walking in the bushes of Northern Kenya with your siblings and mother in tow. Then suddenly, a gun-shot rings out and your mother goes down. Slowly, creeping towards you emerges the figure of a bearded man pointing the business end of a rifle. This is the scenario that unfolded in 1956 when George Adamson, a game warden in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District, drove his Land-Rover to the rescue of a friend who had been captured by bandits. Somewhere along the way, he disembarked to finish the journey on foot when he came face to face with a lioness and its cubs. Taking the warden’s presence as a threat, the lioness charged the warden but was stopped by a heavy caliber bullet from George Adamson’s rifle. It died on the spot, leaving behind three cubs which stood around bewildered and helpless.

Joy with "Elsa", “Lustica” and “Big One”
Joy with "Elsa", “Lustica” and “Big One” | Source

Left with no choice, George Adamson took the cubs under his care, but it was his wife Joy who formed the strongest bond with one of the cubs. She named the cuddly 3 day-old cub Elsa, and her two older sisters “Lustica” and “Big One”. The two older cubs were eventually dispatched to a zoo in Rotterdam because of their aggressiveness, leaving Elsa in the care of the Adamson’s. It was love at first sight, and a relationship that endured over many years. Joy Adamson had in the past suffered three miscarriages, and the attention she gave Elsa can only be equaled to that one gives to their child. They played together, fed together, and took walks in the bush together. Finally, Joy realized that she could not live with Elsa forever and therefore begun to instruct her on how to fend for herself in the African wilderness. This was in preparation for her eventual release, to live free in the wild.

Joy and George with Elsa
Joy and George with Elsa | Source
Elsa
Elsa | Source

The Story of Elsa the Lioness

Releasing Elsa into the wild was not an easy decision for the Adamson’s. They had become very fond of the cub, particularly Joy. Elsa’s first initiation into the Maasai Mara Reserve was very traumatic as she became quite ill. After she had recovered, another attempt was made to let her loose in the then Meru Reserve in 1958. George and Joy Adamson stayed away for a week and were delighted to find that Elsa had been able to fend for herself in their absence, even make the acquaintance of other lions. Over the coming months, the Adamson’s kept tabs on the cub, and two years later, Elsa appeared at their doorstep with three cubs which they happily named Jespah, Gopa, and Little Elsa.

The Movie about Elsa and Her Cubs

Elsa's Final Resting Place
Elsa's Final Resting Place | Source

Right from the beginning it was clear that Elsa wanted Joy to play with and befriend her cubs, but Joy knew there was a danger in domesticating them. As the cubs grew older they became more aggressive and a concern to the farmers. There were constant complaints about Elsa and her cubs, and demands that they should be moved. As Joy was busy making arrangements with the authorities to move them, Elsa contacted a tick-borne blood disease and died in the arms of a tearful George Adamson. Jespah, Gopa, and Little Elsa were eventually relocated to the Serengeti National Park, but their mother, Elsa, was buried in Meru National Park. Her descendants now roam the vast Serengeti plains. Through the compelling story of Elsa, her cubs, and the Adamson’s, it is now known that wild animals have an individual psyche, and are capable of showing love and affection.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)