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Elephant psychology: This is our CoExistence Story

Whenever we hear humans talking about elephants, it’s all Matriarch this, female power that. Now there’s no denying that our mothers are wise and intelligent women, emotionally complex, and they never forget a single thing of course… But what about us boys?  Everyone seems to think we are antisocial loners who only drop by when we need to mate. So ungentlemanly. (How insulting.)

These days most of our forest homes have been replaced by farmland, which means our elephant families resort to searching for food in nearby villages. These little feeding trips are such a dangerous business that matriarchs need reinforcement. Previously we lived in Bachelor herds, dropping in now and again.  In more recent years, us tuskers are living  permanently with the females, to lead the charge and bring additional protection to the herd like the true, caring giants that we are. 

We have also started to group together in novel bachelor herds. We wouldn’t like to admit it, but we can feel a little vulnerable at times. Safety in numbers and all that. 

 

Understanding elephant behaviour

Elephant Family’s elephant behaviour expert, Dr. Joshua Plotnik of Think Elephants says “You cannot help a species if you cannot put yourself in the animal’s shoes. It seems difficult for people to try and take an animal’s perspective without being anthropomorphic, but actually, research on elephant behaviour and cognition allows us to better “see” the world through an elephant’s eyes, ears and trunk and helps us to come up with better ways to help mitigate human-wildlife conflict. How can we try to stop elephants from raiding farmers’ crops, if we don’t understand why they are raiding these crops in the first place? What are their food preferences, and how or why do they make risky decisions that may bring them into conflict with humans? The answers to these questions will be found through future research on elephant behaviour and cognition.”

 

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