Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Imagine an African Morning

Imagine an African morning, the sun rising over the plains. A shuffling family of elephants discover their matriarch dead on the ground. The smell of blood and the sight of the fallen leader causes a palatable anguish within the herd. A low, guttural moaning ripples through the family as they try to understand what has happened. The older members approach cautiously and gently nudge the carcass.
The scene is heartbreaking and yet it happens every day.
Elephants are highly intelligent animals that display complex social behaviors. They have greeting ceremonies, they share vocal and scent communication. Like humans, they are social. They play. They court their mate. Individuals combine into communities over time. When they find bones of their families, perhaps years after they had been killed, they hold the bones in a mysterious and sensitive contemplation. Much like we humans will respect the ashes of our own loved ones.
Elephants realize that they are under attack, to the point where their genetic makeup is modifying. Some research says the number of tuskless elephants is on the increase and though science can’t yet prove the cause, one might imagine it to be such a morning, and so many more like it.

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