Elephants bury their dead

Humans are not the only living beings who have rituals to deal with death. Some animals do it too. Elephants bury their dead. And they even have rituals for them.
Thanks to a new study, these rites were photographed for the first time. Elephants carry the corpses of their young for days until they find the appropriate place to bury them. And with their trunks they send out wails of lamentation. The revelation appears in a study prepared by two Indian scientists. It was published in the scientific journal Journal of Threatened Taxa.

Elephants bury their dead, with elaborate funeral rituals.
Elephants bury their dead, with elaborate funeral rituals.

Elaborate funeral rites

In the investigation carried out between 2022 and 2023, five cases of burials of baby elephants were found. The cases were recorded in the Bengal region, in the northeast of the country.
Elephants of all ages contributed to each burial. Test the “compassionate and helpful behavior” displayed by pack members. All the bodies were found in the same position. They were buried in drainage ditches opened by the peasants. They appeared covered with dirt with their paws up.
After the burial, the peasants interviewed claimed that they heard the elephants trumpeting with their trunks. It is believed that they were expressing their pain.
It had already been observed that African elephants perform funeral rites, covering their young with branches and leaves. But here the bodies are placed in a specific position and buried with earth. They look for “isolated places, far from humans and carnivores, to bury the body,” the report states.
“There are unpublished reports from the West Bengal Forest Department of a female elephant carrying a carcass for up to two days.” Biologist and conservationist Chase La Due points out the importance of the study. “It gives impressive evidence of the social complexities of elephants,” he says.

They bury their young face up in places away from predators.
They bury their young face up in places away from predators.

Mysterious life

“They seem to behave in unique ways toward their deceased relatives. But this research is the first to describe what appears to be a methodical and deliberate burial of baby elephants,” adds La Due.

Elephants bury their dead. This shows that “the mental and emotional life of elephants is still largely a mystery,” she said. These studies could allow us to develop new strategies to ensure the survival of these animals.
Asian elephants in the wild live on average between 60 and 70 years. They appear on the list of endangered species made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
It is estimated that currently about 26,000 specimens live in the wild. Especially in India and some other Southeast Asian countries.

Click to rate this entry!
(Votes: 0 Average: 0)

Leave a Comment