The grey, hulking elephants are beautiful animals with a wonderfully kind disposition. I’ve been fascinated with them ever since I was twelve years old riding one in the quaint, temperate mountain town of Thekkady in Kerala, India’s southernmost state, a trip I revisited with my mother, my uncle and Derek late Spring last year. In addition to those two times in India, I’ve seen them in Malawi, Africa whilst on a safari. I wish I had seen them in Thailand. I’ve been collecting statues ever since.
I love everything about them. They are massive and massively strong. They are extremely smart, possessing cognitive abilities that rival both apes and dolphins. They are so very kind, possessing an abundance of empathy, rivaling that of apes. They have even been known to cry when one of their own dies. The female elephants are extremely family oriented, caring for their young for as long as three years, hanging around in packs with other mothers and calves. They are gentle creatures, but when push comes to shove, will defend their young to the death.
My friend Sara responded to this post on FaceBook:
In 1992, while on safari in Kenya, I witnessed an elephant funeral & it was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Lions had managed to kill a 1 yr old elephant baby – something that rarely occurs. The herd of elephants pushed the lions back to the tree line, where they waited with blood on their faces, and then the elephants formed a circle around the dead baby and stood completely still. One by one each elephant stepped forward, trumpeted softly, then left the circle. The last elephant stood the longest and she had visible tears…her trumpeting was the most anguished sound and we all knew she must be the mother. Finally, she turned to leave with her herd and the lions returned to their kill. Even now, 23 years later, I tear up thinking about it. You are right; elephants are amazing.
So I decided to draw a few into my sketchbook.
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Note. There are quite a few instances of cruelty to elephants as they are hunted for their tusks. Also, life in the circus as well as a preserve can be inhumane. I recommend doing your research before a potential visit.