Elephants are highly social animals. They care for one another, especially those in their close family, and do practically everything together – and it is situations like the one in this video that remind us very vividly just how intense and wonderful those ties and social behaviors are.
The video takes place in the Grand Park Zoo is Seoul, South Korea. Two adult elephants and a calf are seen walking near a large pool in their enclosure when suddenly the baby slips and falls into the water. The reaction of the two adults is incredible – immediately and without any hesitation, they team up to help the little one make it safely out of the lake. They are very visibly worried, acting fast and with determination until they successfully lead the calf onto dry land. What is also fascinating is that the third adult elephant seen behind the fencing is no less frantic in the situation, pacing up and down, nervous because he is unable to take part in the rescue.
In the wild, where elephants live in large herds led by the matriarch, this kind of marvelous teamwork takes place constantly. Elephants live and work out problems together, the only thing able to tear an animal away from the family and friends being death – or capture… In captivity, social behaviors of elephants are obviously severely compromised. The majority of elephants in captivity experience zoochosis, a form of deep mental distress, suffer from arthritis and other foot problems associated with standing on concrete, and many are obese from lack of exercise.
Seeing these zoo elephants come to the rescue of their little herd member, we can’t help but think that these animals deserve to be free. They should be able to live out their days in the company of many other elephants and get to experience the wonders of foraging for food and interacting in a natural way. Knowing how brilliant and complex these animals, isn’t it time that we, as a species, evolved and let them stay in the wild?