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25 Feb 2024, Edition - 3148, Sunday

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They too sense, feel and remember

Covai Post Network


An Indian elephant in the United States expressed mixed emotions on recognising a renowned veterinarian late Dr. Krishnasamy when he visited a zoo there. When the doctor and zoo authorities tried to find out the reason of the elephant’s reaction, they were surprised to learn that the doctor had saved the elephant’s mother by treating her injured leg nearly two decades ago in India.

This was a true instance that was recorded in a book titled “Yanai Azhiyum Peruyir”, authored by Mohammed Ali.

The senses and emotions of some animals are sometimes said to even override that of humans. In the case of elephants many such observations have been made to make humans believe that they possess a sixth sense and also a strong sense of emotional bonding, which they do not forget even for decades. The term “elephantine memory” does not need any explanation.

Sometimes, this same sixth sense of the elephant is being used by the animal to thwart human safety mechanisms and cause damage. Of late, it is being observed that elephants circumvent solar powered electric fencing erected in farms and raid the crops. These fences become defenceless as the elephants cleverly break branches from the trees and strike the fence until they snap.

“They are animals with amazing intelligence,” a senior forest official says recalling his last encounter in the Western Ghats when a tusker covered the trench dug by the Forest Department by simply pushing mud into it, good enough for it to walk over with ease, before it went on a rampage and destroyed crops.

“The massive deforestation, poaching and people encroaching upon forest corridors have forced elephants to move out in search of food and water and the indiscipline in the cropping pattern of farmers has lured these animals to “break all rules”,” he noted.

P. Kalidas of Osai Environmental Foundation, an elephant expert, says that these emotional creatures are very attentive mothers and have phenomenal memory too.

“The mothers are very protective about their calves while on a raid but at the same time understanding. They refrain from charging at humans when rescue attempts are initiated. I remember how a herd quietly watched from a distance when a rescue operation was carried out by the Forest Department for rescuing a calf that had fallen into a huge pit.”

Forest guards and villagers had also recently sighted a grieved mother carrying a dead calf in her trunk, wandering around the Anamalai foothills for two days, unable to let go off her offspring. “It was a touching sight,” said R. Rajendran, a forester.

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