Saturday, October 1, 2011

Don’t Underestimate an Elephant

Elephants are my favorite animals; cemented by the fact that every time I learn more about them I like them more. My husband and I spent today at the Denver Zoo. The zookeeper’s large animal show was crate training of elephants. The zoo has built a multimillion-dollar new exhibit where the two elephants will be moving to. In order to move them they are going to have to put them inside of a crate, tethered, using a crane lift and transport them.

The keepers showed us how they are training them, much like I did our German Shepherds, to learn to like and use their crates. In fact one of the elephants reminded me of my female with her behavior over and over.

Why do I like elephants so much? For one thing they are very much under appreciated. It is the lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys and bears that get the most attention at zoos. Elephants are smart, loyal and strong.

Elephants in the wild are found in small family groups led by a matriarchal female. The families are made up of several generations and often have several other family groups near by. When elephants meet up at watering holes they are very affectionate to the other elephants. When an orphaned elephant is found, another lactating or multiple lactating females adopt the baby; they don’t leave it to die. Elephants are attentive and good mothers keeping their young with them for years, and then often the younger elephants stay within the same gamily group.

Elephants are very social. They often caress, touch and interlock tusks.

Elephants, unlike many pack animals, do not leave the weak or old behind. In fact it has been observed that a mother elephant, after her daughter died, tried for hours to lift her back onto her feet and back to life. No, elephants gather around the weak and the old, they protect them and keep them safe.

Elephants are ridiculously strong. They can carry trees and crush human’s bones beneath their feet yet they walk on their toes like ballerinas. Elephants are the largest animals on earth currently. Elephants can live to be 80 years old. They are gentle, committed, loyal, and have strong communication skills.

Are you sold yet? When I look at elephants I see a magnificent animal. I don’t see a fat animal; I don’t see an ugly animal. What I see is an underestimated, unappreciated beautifully magnificent animal. That is exactly why they are my favorite of all animals.

There are many people walking around this world right now who insides do not match their outsides. Who might not realize their own strengths or their own inner powers? Sometimes, I wonder if I am not the elephant in the group. Not the lion, tiger, bear, giraffe, or monkey. Not the prettiest or the most flashy, but sometimes strength is not recognized until it is no longer contained but unleashed. 


  1. Very nice post! If you're the elephant, what am I!? lol


  2. Elephants are my favorite animal too! They are so incredibly smart!