ADULT FEMALE ELEPHANT ADULT FEMALE ELEPHANT AN ADULT FEMALE IS KNOWN AS A COW African cow Asian cow
ADULT MALE ELEPHANT AN ADULT MALE IS KNOWN AS A BULL Asian male African male
ELEPHANT FAMILY LIFE The family group is known as a herd. Elephant families may have 10 - 20 members. The herd is made up of related females and their male and female offspring. This means grandmothers, great- aunts, aunts, female cousins, sisters and young brothers.
ELEPHANT FAMILY LIFE The leader of the herd is a female. She is called the matriarch.
THE MATRIARCH The family’s survival depends on the matriarch’s good decisions: Learning and remembering where to find food and water is a very important role of the matriarch. Elephants must travel long distances in search of food and water. They depend on the experience of the matriarch to provide for the herd. The matriarch relies on her experience and memory to lead the family in the right direction. This information is passed down to younger elephants so that one day they will be able to lead the family.
BEHAVIORS THAT ARE PART OF ELEPHANT FAMILY LIFE Elephants have life-long friendships. Elephants communicate with each other in a variety of ways. Just as people will shake hands or hug as a greeting, elephants will touch each other with their trunks and even wrap their trunks around one another. This type of interaction builds relationships between individual elephants and trust within the family.
Elephants care for their young: Elephants have strong bonds with their young. A young elephant is known as a calf. Calves learn how to survive from their mothers and the other females in their family. Even if a calf is injured and having trouble keeping up with the rest of the herd, its mother will stay by its side. Female elephants stay with their mothers and other female relatives their entire lives. BEHAVIORS THAT ARE PART OF ELEPHANT FAMILY LIFE
Elephants play! Playing is a way for elephants to strengthen bonds within the herd. It also teaches young elephants how to interact and behave with others in the group. BEHAVIORS THAT ARE PART OF ELEPHANT FAMILY LIFE
Elephants mourn their dead: Other than people, elephants are one of only a few animals that are known to mourn the passing of another member of their species. This mourning behavior is particularly strong when it is in response to the death of a family member. Scientists believe that this emotional response, once thought to be unique to humans, is a demonstration of elephants’ abilities for higher intelligence and complex thoughts. BEHAVIORAL ADAPTATIONS UNIQUE TO THE ELEPHANT FAMILY
A BULL’S LIFE Young bulls will leave the comfort of their family when they are 13-14 years old. They sometimes will seek out other bulls for companionship.
Adult bulls spend most of their time eating, challenging other males, searching for reproductive females or alone. They interact with families when it is time to breed. African adult bull along side a female cow A BULL’S LIFE
Asian elephant family African bull elephant spending time alone
IS THE ELEPHANT FAMILY LIKE YOUR FAMILY OR DIFFERENT? HOW IS IT ALIKE OR DIFFERENT? ELEPHANTS NEED THEIR FAMILY TO SURVIVE, JUST LIKE WE DO.