Elephants Like Us Or Why I’m Even More Against Buying Ivory Than Ever Before

I’m catching up on my TiVo. And I finally watched an episode of 60 Minutes about the study of communication between elephants. I was mesmerized. (You can see the full segment here.)

I was mesmerized, but not because I didn’t believe that animals could communicate with each other. It was the depth and breadth elephant communication appears to be.

What moved me most was the death of a baby elephant. (About 7:48 into the clip.) There is footage of other elephants trying to revive the baby. There are sounds of wailing, in panic and despair. And then, scientist Andrea Turkalo speaks of the funeral that the elephants conducted for about 3 days.

Three days.

About the length of an Irish Catholic wake.

The elephants lined up and slowly passed in front of the body, touching it as they did, releasing emotion (because what else could it be?) through wails and cries.

For three days.

Humans can be arrogant. We feel superior over animals. But after watching that segment, there is no denying that animals experience life with an incredible depth of emotion. While referencing the 60 Minutes segment on YouTube I found the following clip of a group of elephants saving a drowning baby elephant.

They panic. They organize. They join forces. They show relief.

An elephant never forgets. And they are more like us, in so many ways, then we’d care to admit.

(For more information and conservation education of elephants visit the Association of Zoos and Aquarium website.)

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14 Comments

Filed under Be-Causes, Deep Thoughts, nature

14 responses to “Elephants Like Us Or Why I’m Even More Against Buying Ivory Than Ever Before

  1. Perhaps I’m just a big softie, but that clip had me wringing my hands the entire time. And I knew the baby was going to be okay! I’m always amazed by how animals communicate and collaborate with each other. It’s a beautiful thing. I will have to check out the 60 Minutes piece.

  2. Love elephants! Um, except for the sort I’m dealing with this week…

  3. I can’t watch the video right now as YouTube is a blocked site here at work. But, even still, I feel the same way. I refuse to take my kids to the circus for this very reason. Animals are meant to live in the wild (or a really expansive zoo that can simulate the wild).

  4. I don’t think I could be any more against buying ivory.

  5. This post is beautiful. We are all connected on this planet, humans, animal, plants, everything. I think stories like this help us to remember that. Have you seen the animal cruelty documentary Earthlings? I have only ever seen the preview for it, but there is this part at the end of the preview where they torture and elephant and it makes me want to scream.

  6. :(

    I love elephants… Always have. Thanks for sharing this video!

  7. idiosyncraticeye

    So true, thanks for sharing. :)

  8. Total tear fest. I watched something a few years ago (don’t ask me what) about an elephant rescue where one of the elephants bonded with a dog. They did everything together. When the dog died, the elephant mourned for days and was never the same after that. Totally touching.

  9. I can’t watch either I’m afraid – I know I’ll cry. I think anyone who shares their home with loved pets knows that all animals experience the same range of emotions as us and undoubtedly communicate with one another. I’m with Teacher Girl in that I really do believe all life is connected and I cannot abide cruelty to animals, in any form – from the cases of deliberate cruelty to the barbaric farming methods we continue to use in order to produce cheaper food.

    This is the second excellent blog post I’ve read today that makes me want to just write and write.

  10. Wow what a wonderful video! They seemed pretty slow to get the poor baby out, but I loved the way they worked at it until he was safe. Amazing.

  11. Damn, now you’ve got me all emotional over elephants!!!

  12. My daughter and I have always loved elephants. Ivory is part of some Indian jewelry and I’ve refused to accept any of it or take any as a gift. I can’t participate in it for moral and ethical reasons. Respecting all life is something we should all consider.

  13. I don’t watch animal videos or TV shows ever–Joe (dearly departed) lead me astray with a hyena and a baby moose TV clip years ago and destroyed my trust. Forever. An Elephant symbolizes luck and wisdom…two things most of could benefit from….I would never support the Ivory trade.

  14. Ohhh I love Elephants soooooooooo much! I have heard some of the most amazing stories. When I was in high school we learned about this fundraiser where they would give the elephants non toxic paint and they would give each elephant a paint brush and canvas and then auction off the paintings to make money to keep the elephants safe in Africa. This one elephant could paint flowers, and hearts and other elephants. It was amazing! They are such smart creatures! Thank you for sharing this.

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