Baby elephants absolutely love to play and like most kids, sometimes dirtier is better. This poor baby just wanted to play in the mud. All that slipping and sliding was fun until it impeded the process of getting back to Mama. I’ll bet this baby never imagined playtime would end with a helping hand from the whole family. Although, who am I kidding, this is probably a daily occurrence for this little one.
Elephant Family Dynamics
Many people assume that elephants live in herds consisting of both male and female elephants. This is only partly true in that males will live in their familial group until they reach maturity between 12 and 15 years of age. They will then move on to wander on their own to become loners or oftentimes they will find other older males from whom they adapt their social skills.
Once they’ve grown and had experiences to develop their sense of self male elephants will sometimes find a group of all male elephants and integrate themselves into it. Usually the males in the group are all around the same age and size. They are led by a dominant bull.
Female elephants on the other hand are extremely family oriented. Most often when you see a group of elephants that includes elephants of varying ages it is a family of related females led by a matriarch. They usually travel in groups of 15 or so and the matriarch, who is generally the eldest female, decides when they move and when they rest.
Female elephants are also very protective of their young. Not only are they protective but they are supportive. If a baby needs help, it won’t just be mama to the rescue, the whole family will come over to touch and caress the baby to make sure everything is alright. Or, they will all be there to lend their trunk if help is required.
Elephants understand the importance of family and togetherness and they all work together to provide a harmonious environment for their young. Even in a group of male elephants there is a hierarchy that they all understand and accept. They are all friends who became a family through love and understanding.
There is much to be learned from the caring hearts of elephants.