Today’s topic consists of my favorite thing on this green earth. If you know me, I’m sure you’re surprised I haven’t written about these gems I love so much yet. But I have been purposely waiting for one of those days where everything seems to be weighing pretty heavy… I knew unloading about these beautiful creatures would send my day back to the start.
Today is definitely that day. When I was little my great-aunt was one of my favorite humans. She would come to visit my grandmother while I was there after school and I would set out all of the little trinkets she’d brought me. My Aunt Goldie was one of the warmest funniest people I can remember. She was generous and kind yet blunt and honest when she needed to be. She also showed me my love for elephants. My grandma and her will always be who I hope to be like one day.
Elephants are, to me, one of the most amazing gifts the world has given us. I have so much love for them in my heart. It’s a little odd I know, but I’m okay with having weird loves like elephants and trees.
Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups. The oldest female leads the herd and when a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Thanks to Defenders of Wildlife, I am also brushing up on my knowledge of how endangered elephants are today. I think I am up to three speeches now on the poaching of elephant ivory and the threats that are placing the elephant’s future at risk. These also include climate change (I’m noticing this is a common theme in my blogs…) and habitat loss.
Before I pitch my save the elephants spiel, I want to do my unloading of why these creatures are so incredibly amazing to me. Seriously, they are incredibly intelligent. The Scientific American supplied me with this list of points.
- They can identify us by our voices.
I can recall learning about this while researching elephants. I figured it was a good idea to not only love them but also be knowledgeable about them. Have you ever tried to express a feeling about something but not have the words to do so. I highly suggest reading up on those things! But back to the point… researchers have found that elephants can distinguish differences in human gender, age and ethnicity purely by the sound of someone’s voice. They can also follow our body language, as in pointing or gesturing instructions to them.
- They communicate on crazy levels.
Recently, discoveries were made that show elephants communicating over long distances by producing a sub-sonic rumble that can travel over the ground faster than sound through air. Other elephants receive the messages through the sensitive skin on their feet and trunks. It is believed that this is how potential mates are sought out. *Insert heart eyes emoji*
- Elephants can use tools.
Elephants have been known to use sticks to scratch themselves in areas they couldn’t otherwise reach, and fashion fly-swatters out of branches or grass. They have also been observed digging holes to reach drinking water, AND THEN plugging that hole with a ball of bark to prevent the water from evaporating, A.K.A saving their water for later use. C’MON.
- They mourn their loved ones.
It would obviously be a stretch to say elephants understand death in the same way humans do, however, it has been confirmed that they show symptoms of grief and mourning along with joy and anger. They will stand near the body of their friend and caress them as if comforting them. This has been observed to go on for hours. Sometimes elephants try to bury the remains of their family members, and they do not behave this way with the remains of other animals. I would go to every elephant memorial if I could.
- Elephants never forget.
They have extraordinary memories. I’m sure you knew this one, but let’s point out some examples. Elephants can remember routes to watering holes over incredibly long stretches of time and space. They can also remember their old friends. After long periods of separation, they still recognize their old companions.
In 1999, Shirley and Jenny who were once companions in a circus, reunited after 20 years apart. Here is their reunion.
The most urgent threat to elephants is poaching to supply the illegal ivory trade. World Wild Life establishes new protected areas for elephants, constantly monitoring their population status across Africa and Asia and providing rangers to operate on the frontlines of the fight against wildlife crime.
You can protect threatened species…including elephants 🙂 and their habitats today with a one time or monthly donation to World Wildlife Fund.
Elephants have been a part of my love affair since my Great Aunt Goldie brought me my first elephant trinket. I can only hope you have been touched by their souls even half as much as me.