One of my absolute favorite creatures on this earth is, by far, the elephant. There are many reasons for this. First of all, they are herbivorous, meaning they only ingest plants. They are also highly intelligent, on par with primates and whales. These creatures are also just so beautiful, they have regal tusks, winding trunks, insightful eyes, and they have the aged skin of wisdom. Female elephants are highly loyal and tend to stay in all female groups, with the eldest matriarch typically leading the pack until its death. They value touching and greet each other by caressing or wrapping their trunks. And most importantly (at least to me), elephants have self-awareness and display empathy and sadness when one of their members has passed on. There is a strong attachment to those they love.
Elephants were hunted often throughout history as they were highly prized for their ivory tusks. Before the advent of plastic, ivory had many uses including on piano keys, billiard balls, and bagpipes. Ivory is still highly prized at auction on historical pieces.
When I was a child, you could ride the elephants at the Bronx Zoo for a nominal fee. This was bewitching to me as a child. As I’ve aged, my dreams have expanded and now it is my dream to go on an African safari, largely to see the elephants and the other incredible forms of wildlife that one would only be able to envision in dreams.
“We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.”
Attribution to Sotheby’s, Ostertag