Instincts Of An Elephant


“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”

John Donne

We all loved Jumbo didn’t we? The cute little bundle of unadulterated joy? Well elephants in real life are ten times more cute and a hundred times more caring. There has been a lot written about how elephants never forget anything and can feel more than other animals, but their parenting skills are never the topic of discussion.

Leslie A. Temanson ex Program Director at Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia posted a heartwarming video of a baby elephant being watched on by the mother elephant while he was sleeping. There are not many of them left on this planet thanks to the insane amount of pollution we create. Global warming has led to drastic climatic changes and will destroy their natural habitat in the forthcoming years. These elephants cannot live in heavily populated areas and keep to the forests, however the boom in population has already made them encroach upon villages near to the places they originally lived in. This later development has made it all the more easier for the poachers to trap and kill them for their skin and ivory. It is a sorry state for elephants right now as the numbers are decreasing.

Defenders of Wildlife along with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has come up with schemes and rules to prevent illegal poaching to save the elephants across the world. The African elephants are further divided into two subspecies namely the savannah and the forest, the Asian elephant has four subspecies namely the Sri Lankan, Indian, Sumatran and Borneo. The Asian species have a lot of cultural significance. The elephants are attached with religious sentiments and have been domesticated. They also help in transportation of heavy goods like logs from the thick forests. They survive on grass, leaf, bamboo, bark, and roots of plants. They gorge on banana and sugarcane plantations often as they require around 300 to 400 lbs of food each day to survive.

Elephants Can Be Caring And Complex

“Elephants love reunions. They recognize one another after years and years of separation and greet each other with wild, boisterous joy. There’s bellowing and trumpeting, ear flapping and rubbing. Trunks entwine.”
Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Elephants are social beings who love to stay in groups that are matriarchal and establish familial bonds. The oldest and bulkiest female member of the group is usually the head. It normally consists of a minimum of eight to a maximum of hundred members depending on the physical factors of the place and the family size.

A baby elephant is raised not by individual parents but the whole herd that has a matriarchal power structure. The males separate themselves to find their own way around the age of twelve to fifteen and live on their own or join other males to form groups.

They are very sharp and intuitive. They can trace the availability of water from remote sources during dry season and can actually express their varied emotions like happiness, grief or anger.

The mode of communication between elephants is usually low -frequency sounds, that is below the hearing range of humans. This specific sound are called “infrasounds,” and has the capacity to travel for miles, providing elephants with an exclusive language of their own that facilitates their complicated social lives.


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