E is for Elephant
This gorgeous image of a mother and baby elephant was taken by Mara 1 on Flikr.
The more I read about elephants the more amazed I am by the stories and scientific evidence that shows they one of the most highly intelligent, empathetic, loving, noble and social creatures in the world.
Elephants are the largest mammal, their brain is 3 times the size of ours, and they live to a similar age, 70, if they are not murdered before that.
I say murder, because elephants care for each other – they live in social groups, if one baby falls or cries out, every elephant near will respond to help it.
If an elephant falls sick, or is injured, the herd will stay near and feed it, and wait until it is better before carrying on.
If an elephant dies, they mourn – they sometimes dig a hole and cover the body with branches – they have done this for human bodies, too.
When they pass the site of an elephant grave, the whole herd will pause and become quiet. They have been seen caressing the bones of a dead friend.
In South Africa, when conservationist and author Lawrence Anthony (who had rescued two herds of elephants) died, both herds turned up at his house to mourn him.
Neither herd had visited the house for a year and a half, yet on the day of his death one herd turned up, and a day later the second herd arrived.
It must have taken both herds at least 12 hours to walk there.
They stayed around the house, quietly, mourning for a couple of days before moving off.
These are the actions of beings of great sentience.
And yet they are still being killed at such a rate they may be extinct in both India and Africa in the not-too-distant future.
All for the sake of ivory. Read my post last year under E about ivory hunting here.
This is my elephant poem on the Forward Arts Foundation website:
in the dust,
with delicate trunks,
each light touch
© Liz Brownlee
Please do support any initiative that aims to stop this dreadful trade in elephant lives.
Here is one – adopt an elephant at the WWF.
I’m going to leave you with something happy – a baby elephant, playing like any other baby, with a toy. From YouTube.
Poem © Liz Brownlee
Photo © Mara 1.
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