Learning from elephants

How we treat elephants reflects how we treat ourselves.

If anyone has been to Trafalgar Square in London, they will see that it is usually swarming with humanity; thousands of years ago elephants swarmed as they visited the long extinct river that centred on this square.  Following these elephants were early humans, who hunted, honoured and drew elephants on their cave walls.

The co-existence of humanity and elephant has been a significant feature in human history; the elephant is a reflection of how humanity treats itself.  If the elephants die so will humanity.

The relationship between elephant and humanity has deteriorated alarmingly.  Elephants have become nothing more than a commodity to be traded for human entertainment and vanity.  Now rather than a few elephants being killed a systematic slaughter is going on in Africa where gunmen kill whole herds, strip them of their ivory to be shipped to places like China.

Elephants that need space and stimulation are cramped into zoos for the entertainment of humans. The lifespan of an elephant in captivity is half that of one in the wild; the usually good-natured elephant through stress becomes dangerous, turning on each other and their zoo keepers.

It is worth humanity stops to reflect on their relationship with the elephants, by looking at how elephants treat each other.  To learn from the elephant behaviour, thus replicate this with the treatment of each other and of elephants.  There is a close association between what humanity is doing to themselves and what they are doing to elephants; the fortunes of elephants may closely reflect that of humanity.

The following video shows a baby elephant helping its big brother which fell over.  The baby elephant tries to push the big brother up again, then attempts to show big brother how to get up.  It is inspirational.

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10 responses to “Learning from elephants

  1. Sad. And inspirational. Great post Alex

  2. I cannot remember the exact story by Orwell, but it had to do with him being a policeman in Burma and having to deal with a rampaging elephant that had apparently been abused and finally lost control. Many observers talked about how this episode affected Orwell and perhaps had a great deal to do with his view of humanity.

    • Orwell was a perceptive man with his book 1984. As I was recently going through YouTube videos on elephants there was a worrying number of videos of elephants rampaging in asia. Their mistreatment looks to still be happening.

  3. Nature is wonderful. When we lived near Colchester/UK (yes!) of course we never saw this, but out here in South India – yes!

  4. This is incredibily tantamount to a lesson that we humans need to learn…and learn quick. Part of human suffering stems from humans’ terrible treatment of one another. Elephants are wise and kind animals, the very eptiome gentleness. Why aren’t they role models?

    Another great post.

  5. Precious! The little one must have thought that it was the most unnatural position for the bigger brother to be prostate. Looks to me like that little one is going to be an important part of the herd some day. Appears to me that there’s reasoning going on.
    Just because other animals, especially mammals don’t speak language in the same way that we do, doesn’t mean they don’t have a language of their own! I witness an unspoken language every day with my horses. I speak it too, sometimes. :D

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