An elephant’s memory and intelligence is the key to its survival. In the wild each herd is led by one older female, or matriarch. When they come across another group of elephants, the matriarch will get into a defensive position because she realises that those elephants could threaten the safety of the herd.
Aristotle described the elephant as “the animal that surpasses all others in wit and mind.”
Elephants can recognise and keep track of as many as 30 of their companions. Psychologist Richard Byrne, one of the scientists who took part in a study on elephant behaviour said,
“Imagine taking your family to a crowded department store and the Christmas sales are on,”… “What a job to keep track of where four or five family members are. These elephants are doing it with 30 traveling-mates”
An elephant’s brain is heavier and larger than that of any other land animal. They feel grief, compassion, they can cooperate, have self-awareness, and have great memory.
Elephants are able to help other animals in trouble, including humans. In India, an elephant was helping workmen by following a truck and placing logs in holes. When they reached a certain hole, the elephant refused to lower the log. The the mahout, or elephant trainer came to investigate the hold-up and saw a dog sleeping in the hole. The elephant only lowered the log when the dog was gone.
These remarkable animals deserve our respect and protection.