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Elephants: A Remarkably Human Animal - Yellow Magpie

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Published on May 4th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie


Elephants: A Remarkably Human Animal


Elephants are special animals. People who have gotten close to them testify that we share a remarkable affinity with these majestic animals. And as we learn more we gradually comprehend just how human-like these creatures are.

The lifespan of elephants also places them on a similar footing as humans. Elephants can live up to 70 years of age. Like our own societies, elephants pass on knowledge from one generation to the next.

Journey Through Life

Journies play a huge role in the life of elephants. Their lives are about endlessly treading from one place to the next as they search for food and water. As a result, their brains are incredibly complex and they possess memory capabilities that dwarf our own.

The group dynamic, in particular the family unit, is critical to elephants’ development. All of the family help to raise the young calves. In addition the females can display tremendous empathy and caring towards their young.

Elephant Group

Mourning And Death

Elephants, like humans, mourn the loss of other elephants. It is not unheard of for daughters to visit the site of where their mothers have died. When elephants slip into depression their young can be at risk of dying too. They display mourning at the site of other elephant’s remains. There is ritual touching of the dead’s bones. They often return to these sites visiting them again and again.

Surprising Behaviour: Kidnapping

Perhaps one of the the most surprising aspects of elephant life, and one behaviour that has shocked everyone is elephant kidnapping. Although it is a rare occurrence, people have observed a group of elephants kidnapping a young calf from a family. This has been mentioned in PBS’s programme Echo: An Elephant To Remember.

The constant discoveries of such extraordinarily unprecedented behaviour continually shines a light on the fact that our knowledge of these animals is so limited.


The Challenge Of Drought

Lack of water is one of elephant’s greatest foes. Water scarcity places elephants under massive strain. In times of harsh drought the ability to find any source of water is the difference between life and death.

In many places in Africa droughts seem to occur more frequently as global warming starts taking its toll and hurting the wildlife. These battles for water increasingly cause conflicts between humans and elephants as people need water to keep their herds of cattle. These conflicts can escalate and humans and elephants can kill one another.

The Invaluable Role Of The Matriarch

Elephant society is highly structured. Their very survival depends on hierarchy. At the very apex of the group resides the matriarch who has to take all of the burdens that go with the role.

African Elephant

Strong matriarchs keep the group alive. They can face difficult decisions balancing the needs of the individual with those of the group. Frequently, they have to leave behind dying members but they do return to the site of their death. It seems that elephants do not forgot the dead.

A Forever Mysterious Creature

We may never know what elephants think or fully decipher their language, but more and more we are beginning to realise that these animals are highly special. Complex, caring and enigmatic, we are uncovering greater truths about these creatures that on the surface appear to be so different from us but yet underneath are quite similar.

Highly Recommended Get This Book Through Amazon

Check out Yellow Magpie’s Elephants: PTSD And Killing People, The Elephant: A Grass-Guzzling Digestive System Phenomena and Elephants: Why They Are So Smart for further insight into this amazing animal.

Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family by Cynthia Moss is a thrilling and eye-opening read. Full of wonderful insight and knowledge that can only be gleaned from hands-on experience, Elephant Memoirs is one of the better books on the subject.

You can obtain Elephant Memories here from Amazon.

For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom you can access Elephant Memories here.

For those living in Canada you can obtain Elephant Memories from here.

For Germany: Elephant Memories.

For France: Elephant Memories.

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