elephants console each other photo sophie47 web

In the early hours of Saturday morning, rangers at the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand heard loud elephant calls coming from a ravine.

They arrived at a grim scene: six dead elephants, seemingly killed by a raging waterfall known as Haew Narok—or “Hell’s Abyss.”

No one witnessed the incident, but track patterns at the site, along with elephants’ known tendency to form close social bonds, lead park officials to believe that a calf fell over the waterfall and five adults died while trying to save it.

Sadly, their deaths will be mourned

two surviving thai elephants with text

Elephants are well-known for their intelligence, close family ties and social complexity, and they remember for years other individuals and places and the special relationships between individual elephants may last a lifetime

Elephants have  individual personalities

Their strong individual personalities affect how they interact with other elephants, how others perceive them, and how well they are able to influence members of their group. For example, some elephants are popular while others are not. Some elephants show strong leadership qualities, others do not; some are highly social "extroverts", while others are less social, "introverts."

Social Organization and Families

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An elephant family consists of one or more usually related adult females and their immature offspring who feed, rest, move and interact in a coordinated manner and have close and friendly ties. Members of a family show extraordinary teamwork and are highly cooperative in-group defence, resource acquisition, offspring care, and decision-making. Members of a family greet one another with a special "Greeting Ceremony."

They form strong bond groups which may include as many as five or more families and up to 50 or more individuals.

Some of the calls used by elephants are powerful low-frequency vocalizations that carry over long distances. Elephant can recognize the voices of hundreds of other elephants from up to 2 kilometres away

Bottomline

Elephants are known to be extremely social creatures that establish strong bonds with each other. They fiercely protect babies and mourn their dead. Just as a hug can reassure another human that "everything's going to be ok," gentle touches and trunk strokes can carry the same message between elephants

 So the impact of the six deaths may be emotional, too; as elephants are sensitive and empathetic animals, known to console one another- and perhaps grieve—the bodies of their dead fellows.

“It's like losing half your family,” Wiek says. “There's nothing you can do, it's nature

 

 

Sources:

 Smithsonian

Elephant Voices

 

 

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