Thanks to the efforts of organizations such as the Save Elephant Foundation in Thailand, the world is now waking up to the plight of elephants, but will in be in time?
- Elephant outsmarts villagers to get fruit
- Rambunctious baby elephant whose mother stepped on a landmine gets his first bath
- Help save elephants and rhinos – learn more
Worldwide, an elephant dies every 15 minutes for its tusks. Everywhere that they live they have conflicts with humans when they stray from reserves, and in Southeast Asia they stumble onto landmines. The lucky ones find their way to refuges, as did the mother of this joyful baby elephant at the Elephant Nature Park, whose daily updates on their rescues open a window into the elephant psyche :
In India, an enormous bull elephant who lives in a reserve shows an amazing talent for outsmarting the people who stand between him and whatever tasty morsel he is seeking. He hides and waits for a fruit seller to take a bathroom break, then emerges and helps himself to the bounty…but he didn’t stop there.
When a trench was dug to keep him away, he started cruising down the highway and scaring the guard away before continuing on towards his feast of jackfruit. The villagers then assembled a group at the guard station, so the elephant – named Bharathan – got another elephant to go first. When the villagers turned to chase the first elephant, Bharathan snuck up behind them and trumpeted loudly, causing them to scatter so he could amble down to his destination. Certainly smart, and who knows, maybe he has a sense of humor too.
In the article More brain than brawn, the author shares insights about this giant mastermind:
The most incredible thread running through all the anecdotes is that Bharathan seems to have learnt that violence and direct confrontation with people does not work in the long term. He is continuously trying to outsmart them — using his brain rather than brawn — despite having infinitely more brawn than his human adversaries…People living alongside wild elephants brim with stories about their intelligence.
Other anecdotes reported in the article show both the intelligence and emotional capabilities of elephants:
- A ‘rogue’ tusker in central India recently knocked down a house, but when it heard a baby crying it stopped its rampage, and carefully cleared the debris around the baby.
- A domestic elephant that was working to plant timber posts into holes that had been dug into the ground refused to put the post into one of the holes, despite its mahout’s (elephant handler) goading. When the mahout looked, he found a dog sleeping in the hole, and the elephant clearly did not want to kill it.
- When elephants accidentally kill people, they invariably stand over them and try to cover them with leaves or mud, and are visibly distressed at what they have done. They are also the only other species known to have rituals around death, where the herd gathers around a deceased animal, covers it with leaves and guards it against predators.
We need to save these amazing elephants, their plight is real and painful, their loss imminent. Please join in the Global March to Save Elephants and Rhinos, Saturday October 4th, 2014.
This link will take you to march locations, worldwide (please scroll down their page to find the location tabs): GLOBAL MARCH FOR ELEPHANTS AND RHINOS.