No, not all elephants like to be touched by humans. In the wild, elephants avoid people or get aggressive towards humans as they are not used to them. But in captivity, experts have trained adult elephants so that they accept human touch. Elephants that have grown up with humans from a baby can enjoy being petted.
Can you pet a wild elephant?
There are no wild pet elephants, and you will be unable to pet a wild elephant without getting hurt or the elephant running away.
All the elephants that you see in various zoos and institutions are only first or second-generation captive-bred.
Why are elephants so special?
The intelligence level of the elephants is significantly higher than other mammals. That is what makes the elephants extremely special.
Just like us, elephants also showcase feelings of compassion and complex emotions towards family and friends.
Elephants are highly social animals, and they live in herds. African elephant herds can get together and form clans that may contain hundreds of elephants.
Just like humans, elephants also have self-awareness. That means elephants can recognise themselves when they see their reflection in a mirror.
Elephants can recognise their friends and family even if they have spent many years apart.
See the video below of Shirley and Jenny, who spent more than 20 years apart and how they were so happy to see each other. PS you may need some tissues to watch this; it’s beautiful.
These gentle giants have a massive body mass which goes in their favour; however, one of their disadvantages is that elephants are not naturally aggressive like many other wild animals. Their weakness is kindness!
That is why it is easier to tame elephants than other wild animals, like rhinos, hippos or bears.
The high levels of intelligence and memory have also helped humans to tame the elephants. By nature, elephants like to avoid any conflict; however, they often come up tops when the time is needed.
Elephants usually only fight with each other during the mating season. Even the captive elephants show this fighting behaviour. The captivate elephants also can become aggressive towards even their trainers during this time.
Do Elephants Fear The Humans?
Wild elephants are afraid of males the most. They can tell a human child from an adult male or female.
Poachers may be mainly young male adults, and because elephants have seen this, they don’t like male humans.
Females and even small boys do not scare them. Old males don’t scare them either.
If they face such threatening humans in the wild, most elephants run away from the situation instead of getting into confrontations.
Elephants Support Other Species
Elephants are not unique only because of their vast size but also because they play an essential role in the ecosystem. They are like ecosystem engineers. That means an entire ecosystem relies on the presence of elephants. If the elephants vanish from Earth someday, that whole ecosystem will collapse automatically.
While moving from one place to the next, the elephants push the trees over, which helps to maintain the Savanna ecosystem. Not only that, they excavate holes in search of water and fertiliser lands with their droppings, which allows other animals to thrive.
Not only that, you can find elephants in a variety of different ecosystems. In Africa alone, you can see elephants living in grasslands, Savanna forests, deserts, mountains, and even swamps.
Elephants Affect Vegetation
Most people think that the definition of big trees and the presence of elephants are correlated somehow. However, that is not the case. There is no doubt that the elephants break the big trees for feeding or to make paths. They push over, debark, or even stunt the growth of the big trees. However, in doing that, they disperse seeds, open up woodlands and fertilise the landscape as well.
Studies have shown that elephants destroy about 4% of the trees in the protected area of southern Africa. While the laws of the big trees are undeniable, the change the elephants bring to the structure of the vegetation should be appreciated as well.
It would help if you also understood that elephants are not solely responsible for destroying trees in a forest. Impalas eat a far greater volume of tree seedlings compared to elephants. The combination of flood, fire, the eating habit of other herbivores, disease, and drought leads to the survival rates of the tree.
Do elephants die when their mate dies?
Elephants are very empathetic, and they can feel hurt when someone they love dies. Elephants can die of a broken heart in extreme cases, especially if only two of them are together. In herds, when an elephant has lost someone they love, they often become very sad. Elephants also mourn for other elephants who have died, and they often go to the place where their friends or relatives died to be close to them and honour their memory.