In a heart-wrenching video, a herd of elephants can be seen staging what seems to be a “funeral” for one of their young. This clip reflects the emotions we as humans would experience while mourning the loss of a loved one at a funeral. This begs the question: do elephants experience grief?
The footage was posted to Twitter by Parveen Kaswan, a forest ranger in the Indian Foreign Service, which shows an adult elephant carrying the lifeless body of a deceased infant with its trunk. It then rests the body down while waiting for other members of the herd to appear.
Even though scientists warn against interpreting such displays as being motivated by “grief”, elephants are one of a number of species who have been observed to mourn their dead.
According to BBC Earth, an orca died off the coast of Vancouver Island in 2018 and its mother kept its corpse with her for 17 days straight. In another incident which took place two years ago in Zambia, a female chimp attempted to clean the teeth of her dead adopted son, dubbed a “mortuary ritual” by many.
In the same vein, according to the Smithsonian magazine, elephants are known for visiting the remains of dead family members, stroking their bones or at times rocking back and forth in what resembles a “vigil”.
During these memorials, the animals have been known to repeatedly pass the deceased fellow herd member – even sometimes smelling and touching the dead body, Mirror adds.
This will move you !! Funeral procession of the weeping elephants carrying dead body of the child elephant. The family just don’t want to leave the baby. pic.twitter.com/KO4s4wCpl0
— Parveen Kaswan (@ParveenKaswan) June 7, 2019
Picture: Screenshot from video