two gray elephants

“There is no creature among all the Beasts of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of Almighty God as the Elephant.”

– Edward Topsell

Elephants are majestic creatures. There is a certain aura of wisdom and magic about them that can draw anyone in. We cannot help but for a special bond with them. Their high emotional intelligence and adept social bonding skills make them unique. There is something in an elephant’s eyes that gives you a glimpse of an ancient world long gone.

We all know that elephants are the largest land animals in the world. Just like humans, they have evolved over centuries. Today, they are the only remaining members of the Elephantidae family and Proboscidea order. There are three living species of elephants in the modern world. They are Asian elephants, African bush elephants, and African forest elephants.

Once upon a time, there were a plethora of elephants roaming around Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, and South East Asia. Heartbreakingly, elephants are now an endangered species. Human greed has wiped out a vast population of the gentle giants. The demand for ivory and the encroaching on elephant habitats by humans have made sure that only a small number of elephants are alive today. As per an estimate by WWF, 415,000 wild elephants remain in Africa. As for Asia, there are approximately 48,000 – 52,000 elephants alive today. Most of them are in India.

People all over the world have started taking steps to save elephants. Ivory trade is banned and governments are trying their best to conserve the habitats of elephants. We can only hope that it is not too little too late.

Since 2011, at the behest of Patricia Sims, Michael Clark, and Sivaporn Dardarananda, August 12 is celebrated as World Elephant Day. The day is dedicated to the preservation of elephants worldwide.

Elephants are pretty intriguing creatures and deserve to be saved. This World Elephant Day, let us look at some mind-blowing factoids about elephants.

Elephants are Sensitive Souls with a Helpful Heart

Elephants care for all those in their herd. They are compassionate, kind, and altruistic. Elephants are empathetic and are seen to console one another in times of distress through sounds and calls. They are incredibly close to their family members. They are grief-stricken when they lose a family member to death. In fact, they are traumatized when poachers kill their close ones in front of them. It is believed that some young bull elephants even become vengeful. Elephants show signs of PTSD decades after being rescued from torturous humans.

Elephants are Family-Oriented

Elephants usually live in matriarchal units. The matriarch of a clan possesses vital information regarding survival. The young calves spend time with the elders to gain this knowledge so that they can acclimate to the environment once they are old enough. Elephants are very respectful toward their dead. Even if they are not related, elephants try to assist their deceased brethren and call out for help. They repeatedly visit the corpse and repeatedly touch, smell, and examine it. This is a testament to their sensitivity.

The Feet of Elephants Have Hearing Capabilities

Their humungous ears make it evident that elephants have great hearing power. They can also send out sounds over a long distance. Elephants snort, roar, cry, and bark depending on the situation. They can also make and pick up low vibrations. You will be surprised to know that elephants have sensitive nerve endings in their feet and trunks that enable them to listen to infrasonic sounds. This ability is key to their survival. By stomping, elephants warn others, even those far away, of danger.

Elephants are Highly Intelligent

Elephants are super intelligent. Astonishingly, they understand human language. In fact, one elephant even learned the Korean language. Also, it is interesting to note that elephants are less agitated by female and younger male voices as compared to adult male voices. Asian elephants are also proficient in math. They are adept at counting. It is noteworthy that Asian elephants have an emotional intelligence quotient of 2.14 as compared to the African elephants’ EQ of 1.67.

Elephants are Hyperthemesic

Elephants are not only the largest land animals but also the mammals with the largest brain. Naturally, they have the longest of memories. They recognize other elephants and humans long after encountering them. Elephants also possess the memory of paths to distant watering holes and food sources. They also keep a note of alternative sources. All this information is passed from the elders to the young ones, ensuring their survival.

Elephants have a Unique Sunscreen We all know that elephants have thick skins. However, their skin is highly sensitive. They can easily get sunburnt. To avoid this, elephants have come up with a unique sunscreen. They use dirt and sand as protection from the UV rays of the sun. They cover themselves and their younger ones in dirt to get a respite from the harsh sun rays. So, do not be surprised the next time you see an elephant cover himself with muddy clay right after a refreshing bath in the river.


Elephants are animals with unique personalities. Their thick eyelash-fringed soulful eyes call to our very soul. Ever since ancient times, we have put elephants on a pedestal. Both Africans and Asians put a lot of religious significance on them. In fact, in India, they are considered gods. Lord Ganesha, a major Hindu deity, has the visage of an elephant. It is even believed that Buddha himself was actually a reincarnation of a white elephant. Nevertheless, man has always been selfish. They have used elephants in wars, circuses, and even on farms. Elephants’ ivory tusks have put them in great danger as well. As discussed, elephants are now an endangered species. We all should do our best to spread awareness and protect elephants in our own ways, no matter how small it is.

Do comment and let us know about your views on elephants.

By Kajori Sheryl Paul

Reading is my passion, and writing is my compulsion. I started reading from a very early age. Since then, I have not stopped. I have garnered this addiction from my father. I have always loved reading his books. As you can see, books are my world. I escape this world to traverse the world of my books. Naturally, I have an affinity to create worlds of my own. There are thoughts constantly swirling in my head. These are the thoughts that I jot down. Sometimes, they become poems while sometimes stories. More often than not, they are just reviews of the plethora of books I read and the things I do.

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