As the saying goes, “an elephant never forgets,” whether it’s cruelty or compassion. According to Newsweek, elephants trampled a man who killed “a one-year old calf that belonged to the herd.”
This is just the latest in a string of stories involving elephants exacting revenge on cruel humans.
Last summer, a 68-year-old Indian woman was stomped to death by an elephant. If that wasn’t shocking enough, several elephants went to the funeral, flung her corpse in the air and destroyed her home. It’s believed that the woman may have been part of a poacher group.
On the flip side, elephants are also capable of showing appreciation for humans who have shown them kindness. When conservationist Lawrence Anthony died in 2012, a herd of elephants traveled 12 hours to stand vigil at his house.
Newsweek reported, “villagers in Korba in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh had allegedly killed the calf earlier in the week and buried it in Bania village.”
Pintawar Singh, was looking after his cattle when a herd of 44 elephants approached and trampled him.
Human And Elephant Conflicts Are Common
Duncan McNair, the founder of Save The Asian Elephants, weighed in.
“Undoubtedly, this was retaliatory action by the herd upon the very person who took the life of one of their young, seeking him out and those around him for retribution,” he said.
When villagers harm or kill elephants for destroying their crops (or just for sport), elephants sometimes retaliate.
The herd responsible for Singh’s death “damaged 22 acres of crops in two days. Crop-raiding incidents often stem from elephants being forced out of their habitat to find food and water.”
So long as the battle for resources continues between humans and elephants in India, these violent outcomes will happen.
Elephants Are Incredibly Intelligent
In addition to great memory, elephants are some of the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom.
Typically, they are docile, but when crossed, they are a force to be reckoned with.
McNair explained, “elephants are immensely intelligent. Their brains weigh 10 pounds or more and have complex surface folds and a highly developed hippocampus, which enables profound emotions of grief, compassion, humor, role-playing and anger. So, while they are a gentle and recessive species, if roused by threats or attacks, they can be deadly.”
What Happened To The Body Of The Calf ?
Newsweek reported, “officials uncovered the calf’s body from a farm in Bania village, where it had been buried and covered with paddy to hide it. The owner of the farm was detained by officials. It is not clear if Singh was involved in killing the calf.”
Elephants Are An Endangered Species
World Wildlife Fund issued a sobering statistic: “Asian elephant numbers have roughly halved in the last 60-75 years.”
McNair and others have called for humane ways to care for those still with us.
“Save The Asian Elephants urges genuine sanctuaries and wildlife reserves where elephants are observed from a safe and respectful distance.”
He also called for an end to “brutal elephant attractions.”
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