Mourning Elephants

Mourning Elephants

The strange behaviors of Elephants

          When there is a tragic death of a family member, there are usually steps that are taken to prepare for the funeral. During these services, it is normal and not strange to see a family member crying and saying goodbye to their loved one. However, the strange thing is, this behavior can be seen in elephants as well, just a little differently. Elephants and human share some striking similarities and are the weirdest emotionally driven animal exhibited. When an elephant dies, there are a few rituals performed in regards to it.  This ritual can even be seen when elephants come across old elephant bones they recognize. However, before they begin any form of ritual, they would spend awhile inspecting the bones in a very subdued and quiet manner.

            It is also very common to observe elephants visiting grave sites of their loved one on a regular basis without eating or drinking for a while. Elephants are very respectable and will show the dead respect by taking leaves, dirt, branches or just anything that they can find to cover up the body or bones of their fallen soldier. Though not only have elephants do this for their own species, but they have also done the same thing for humans and other empathetic animals like dogs. In the video below, these behaviors can be seen as the elephants perform this ritual. The care and affections that elephants show,  attests to the fact that elephants are extremely empathetic animals.


Why they Mourn

The behavioral interactions that elephant shows for their dead can’t be explained in any simple way. There have been assumptions of evolutionary effects that could explain the deeper emotional levels that elephant shows, But, it is very difficult to study and complicated. 




Elephant by Jim, the Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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