August 2, 2009
Samburu Elephants, Kenya
Photograph by Michael Nichols
This Month in Photo of the Day: Animals
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.
See more photographs from the September 2008 feature story "The Elephants of Samburu."