Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Elephant Awareness Month | Why I Love Elephants

It's no secret (especially after this month!) that I love elephants. I know that I mentioned it in my The Elephant Pants unboxing video that I've always loved elephants, ever since I was a little kid. I can't remember having any other favorite animal (although dogs are a top contender!). I remember being really little and seeing elephants on a cover of a ZooBook and instantly falling in love. I remember doing multiple research projects and papers on elephants throughout elementary and middle school. I have so many memories of being fond of these animals throughout my entire life, and the more I read about them the more I love them. I thought I'd share a few reasons why I love elephants so much, and maybe you'll fall in love with them too!

Elephants are empathetic. There have been countless reports of elephants sensing distress in other elephants and comforting them. When I read Love, Life, and Elephants, Dame Daphne Sheldrick spoke of the elephants she reared caring for not only other elephants, but other animals as well who were grieving the loss of their families. Like humans, elephants can feel the pain of others and offer help in dealing with that pain, and that's a beautiful thing.

Elephants have a strong memory. No matter what happens to them, whether it's something good or something bad, elephants remember. There is a reason why wild elephants do not trust humans - because there is a long standing history of poaching and other forms of violence against elephants by humans. It's a fact that aside from lions who occasionally prey on weak elephants in the wild, elephants have no natural predators, so it really is a shame that humans are almost exclusively wiping elephants off the face of the earth.

On a happier note, elephants can remember other elephants or even people after years and years of separation. Though males tend to leave their herds in their teenage years to live in solitude, they can always remember which herd is theirs, and they are always welcomed back with open arms (open trunks?). It's really, really awesome to think that there are many other creatures out there that have memories that are as good, if not better, than ours.

Elephant herds are strongly matriarchal. The eldest females in the herd tend to be the highest regarded elephants, and the females are the ones that tend to keep the herd - numbers ranging from the low teens to over 100 elephants - together and functioning as a community. Any community - whether animal or human - that values its women is always a plus in my book! ;)

Elephants rely on one another and form deep emotional relationships. This is probably my favorite thing about elephants. The bonds that elephants form are everlasting. They rely on one another and are always there for each other. They thrive on being able to provide care for each other which is so amazing. They know that in order to survive they must be able to create long lasting and trusting relationships, putting the herd in front of their own interests. So awesome.

So those are just a few of the reasons why I love elephants. Elephant Awareness Month has really brought my love for elephants to a new level and I hope one day to visit organizations that work to rehabilitate and save elephants. Until then, I will continue to do as much as I can from the comfort of my small town in the US to raise awareness and contribute to the efforts others are putting forth. I'm really happy to have had the opportunity to blog about elephants so much this month, and I hope that it shed some light onto how important the fight to conserve the species really is!

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