World Elephant Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
“Elephants love reunions. They recognize one another after years and years of separation and greet each other with wild, boisterous joy. There's bellowing and trumpeting, ear flapping and rubbing. Trunks entwine.”
~ Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Small as an Elephant, 2011
The elephant's reputation for a long memory is rooted in fact. Elephants recognize and can keep track of the locations of as many as 30 companions at a time, according to psychologist Richard Byrne of the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland who studied elephants at Amboseli, Kenya in 2007. And at The Elephant Sanctuary (a non-profit organization based in Hohenwald, Tennessee, the U.S.'s largest natural-habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered elephants) in 1999, an elephant named Jenny became very animated when a new elephant named Shirley arrived. After looking into the animals’ backgrounds, workers at the Sanctuary found that the two had performed with the same circus for only a few months—22 years earlier. 🐘🐘🐘
Elephants Don't Forget
World Elephant Day is dedicated to finding ways for individuals and organizations to help stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products, to protect wild elephant habitats, and to provide sanctuaries and alternative habitats for domesticated elephants to live freely.
Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea which included the now extinct deinotheres, gomphotheres, mammoths, and mastodons.
Females ("cows") tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow.
Males ("bulls") leave their family groups when they reach puberty, and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls mostly interact with family groups when looking for a mate and enter a state of increased testosterone and aggression known as musth, which helps them gain dominance and reproductive success.
Calves are the centre of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years.
Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They communicate by touch, sight, smell and sound; elephants use infrasound, and seismic communication over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans. They appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.
Elephants are popularly thought of as having an excellent memory. In 2007, researchers from the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland performed an experiment at Amboseli National Park in Kenya showing that elephants can recognize and track as many as 30 of their companions.
For more on the remarkable memory of the elephant, click the baby elephants at play.
And while you're at it, consider remembering the elephants and toasting their future with a Pink Elephant cocktail, a concoction of Amarula Cream Liqueur, Chocolate Liqueur, raspberry puree, Merlot, heavy cream, and a spring of mint.
The marula fruit from the marula tree (also known as the elephant tree) a flavoring in Amarula Cream is particularly favored by elephants. For the cocktail, click the albino baby (pink) elephant with her family herd.