ELEPHANTS WITH BROKEN HEARTS; Astonishing New Pictures That Prove They Can Feel as Much Grief as Any Human
Byline: DAME DAPHNE SHELDRICK
TO BE able to understand an elephant, you need to think like a human.
That's what I tell my staff at the elephant orphanage I founded in Nairobi National Park.
Time and again, my experience is borne out: whether it is in their tremendous grief at the death of a beloved relative, in the face of sickness or in joy at seeing an old friend again, these gentle giants act exactly like us, as these extraordinary pictures show.
The dramatic images show one elephant, Grace, struggling to help another - 40-year- old matriarch Eleanor - who lies dying from a snake bite.
The footage, shot by scientists at Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, show Grace calling out in distress and making desperate attempts to get the dying elephant back onto her feet.
Sadly, her efforts were unsuccessful. The next day, Eleanor's lifeless body was visited by other elephants, who rocked back and forth in mourning or stood silently, paying their last respects.
The research team from Oxford University's Department of Zoology, the charity Save The Elephants and the University of California report the episode in a forthcoming study to be published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
It is a moving testament to these emotional creatures, but not one that surprises me.
In fact, I am always amazed that academics still don't seem to understand that these wonderful beasts experience the whole gamut of human emotion. …