Elephants are a matriarchal society, and babies suckle for up to 7 years. Eles love to be together, and the longer they are a family group, the closer they get (a bit unlike human families it seems to me).
Female elephants can have babies until they’re about 60, and there’s nothing better than a new baby to love and adore – even if it’s not theirs. They form small herds, often based around an expectant mother or a new baby. The mother has carried the baby for nearly 2 years – she welcomes the help! Particularly if this is her first baby and she doesn’t know what to do. (Check out this post about a difficult, but ultimately successful, birth story) The group comes together to rear and protect the baby, often being overly protective. Put a bunch of old ladies and babies together and what do you get? Drama!
Eles are constantly touching each other with their trunks – to reassure and comfort, and as a form of play.
It is funny watching the antics of the babies – racing around, playing with each other, making their mahouts chase them, and making their nannies frantic with worry.
If something startles the baby and they cry out, all the nannies come charging over – immediately ready to protect and comfort. The sounds they make are amazing, and you can hear a rumble all the way across the park. The first time I heard one of their roaring rumbles, I wondered if ENP had rescued a lion somewhere along the way!
*Random Tidbit: Did you know that sound mixers often use elephant, lion, and donkey sounds blended together to make monster and dinosaur noises for films?
This is what had scared Yin Dee and Dok Mai. They had been truly charging and ramming each other before I got the video going. It was awesome to see!