I recently read a book claiming that humans are incorrect, and do animals a disservice, when we apply our emotions to them.
For example, when a dog cocks his head at us, we assume he is confused or lost. The book implied that this could not be so, because animals do not share our higher brain functions and thus do not and cannot feel in the same way humans do.
Who is he to make that sweeping statement? Has he been a horse? I thought. Has he been a dog? Has he been my dog when I am singing show-tunes in my underwear? I assure you, this confuses my dog.
I think we can all rest assured that the author he has not been an elephant.
The below video was shot in an animal sanctuary in Northern Thailand. A young female Asian elephant named Me-Bai was recently reunited with her mother Mae Yui. In the video, you can see the two of them interact. There is initial hesitation and then apparent recognition. All this is followed by gut-punchingly sweet nuzzling. And, call me crazy, but I see love. Tender, sweet, forever kind of love.
This mother-daughter duo was separated for nearly four years when Me-Bai was sold into the tourist trade. In the wild, young female elephants will generally remain with the herd they are born into for life. Essentially that means Me-Bai would have remained with her mother forever.
Me-Bai found herself in the sanctuary after failing in the tourist trade because she wasn’t old enough or strong enough to hold riders. Her caretakers were able to coordinate her mother’s retirement to the sanctuary so the two could be together.
See for yourself, but my takeaways are this:
1. Be mindful of animals within the tourist trade; skip the elephant ride and instead visit and donate to a sanctuary that allows them to continue living naturally.
2. Animals do love. And elephants, like humans, never forget.
Author: Jessica Chardoulias
Editor: Caroline Beaton