Skip to content

How Elephants Say Goodbye

Botswana - 2007;  Awarded - Highly Commended, Audubon Society & NANPA;  2012 National Geographic Editors Pick and viewer Choice; 2 page spread in Oct 12 Picture Die Bewegendsten Des Monats; Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth today and have been known to live to over 70 years. Elephants are legendary for their memory and intelligence including attributes associated with grief, making music, altruism and compassion.  We came across this elephant whose corpse was overcome by vultures and jackals.  From a distance we heard and then saw another elephant approaching at a fast pace.  She was successful at chasing away the predators and then very slowly and with much empathy wrapped her trunk around the deceased elephants tusk.  She stayed in this position for several hours guarding her friend.

Most of us have seen photos of videos of elephant herds gathering around one of their own who's passed away and for whom they're grieving. This one is especially poignant for how the elephant has her trunk curled around the tusk of her friend.

It was taken in Botswana in 2007 by John Chaney, and was published in last year's National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. Chaney writes:

Elephants are legendary for their memory and intelligence including attributes associated with grief, making music, altruism and compassion. We came across this elephant whose corpse was overcome by vultures and jackals. From a distance we heard and then saw another elephant approaching at a fast pace. She was successful at chasing away the predators and then very slowly and with much empathy wrapped her trunk around the deceased elephants tusk. She stayed in this position for several hours guarding her friend.

«    •    Main    •    »
0 comments