A majestic species known as elephants roams through dense woods and vast savannas. Scientists and conservationists have long been fascinated by these gentle giants. Numerous years of rigorous research and in-depth observation have shown that elephants have a wide emotional spectrum and a mourning process that remarkably resembles our own.
George Wittemyer is a committed conservation biologist at Colorado State University who has devoted a large amount of his career to understanding elephant behaviour. In an interview with National Geographic, Wittemyer shared some of his discoveries, emphasising the intricate and mysterious coping methods these amazing animals use to deal with the death of a herd member.
“Elephants have respect for their dead, but their interaction with their dead is not something we fully understand,” Wittemyer said. Researchers have been captivated by the enigmatic facets of these animals’ behaviour when they experience loss, which highlights the complexity of feelings these creatures possess.
Elephants have a unique grieving process and a high level of emotional intelligence. This was highlighted in a recent video that Parveen Kaswan, a Twitter user, uploaded. The video shows a peaceful road scene where cars stop and passersby are mesmerised by an incredible sight.
Elephants go over the road in a majestic herd, one of them standing out as it carefully clutches something in its trunk. The elephant is transporting a dead elephant calf, as viewers quickly learn. With a mournful pause, the herd forms a circle of respect around the dead calf, which the elephant delicately places on the ground. There is a palpable sense of collective grief and grieving in this setting.
Parveen Kaswan, in her title for the video, beautifully captures the feelings that are present: “The family just don’t want to leave the baby.” The way the elephants behave is similar to how a human funeral procession would be mournful.
A second elephant approaches and gently cradles the deceased calf in its trunk as the herd moves ahead. Elephant herds have a strong emotional bond that makes it clear that they are capable of feeling grief and loss.
The video highlights the close relationships that elephants have with one another and acts as a heartfelt reminder of the emotionally complex lives these creatures lead. This story emphasises the complexity and beauty of nature while bridging the gap between our worlds. The appeal is to share this amazing demonstration of nature’s emotional depth on Facebook so that others can also experience the moving moments portrayed in the movie.