The more we study elephants, the more we learn that these gentle giants are also wonderfully intelligent animals, who have been observed problem-solving, showing love for one another, and even engaging in rituals to mourn their dead.

In nature, they form large herds consisting of about 25 related females and their offspring. The herd is usually headed by an older matriarch, who will lead the group to food, water and resting places. Male elephants will often form their own small herds of about 5 to 10 bachelors and sometimes, like during droughts, a number of herds will travel together for a time. Having evolved for social interaction, it is no wonder that elephants, like dogs, show concern with each others health and well being. This photo of two baby African elephants, holding trunks is a great example of how social and caring these animals really are.

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Just like human siblings, these little ones have each other’s backs for life.

baby elephants holding trunks

 

Unfortunately, elephants like the one’s pictured here are in serious trouble. They are threatened, both by habitat loss and by mankind’s insatiable lust for ivory. Fueled by large markets in Asia, in 2014 the demand for ivory drove the price up as high as $2,000 per kilogram! With each adult elephant tusk weighing between 10 and 50 kilos, this means that there is a potential bounty of between $40,000-$200,000 to be made from every elephant in Africa. Sadly, this price tag leads to one elephant being killed every 15 minutes.

Because of this, many predict that wild African elephants will most likely go extinct within the next ten years – unless the ivory trade is fully abolished. Although the statistics facing elephants are daunting, we can all make a difference in very simple ways. First, raise awareness. Share this post and encourage others to learn about the threats to elephants. Second, NEVER purchase any item that contains ivory. It has been said many times, when the buying stops, so can the killing. The two babies in this photo might be looking out for one another, but it is up to all of us to look out for them!

Image source: Elephants DC/Facebook