ELEPHANT WEEPS AFTER RESCUE: A 50-year-old elephant who had spent much of his life shackled in chains, wept when he was finally freed from captivity. “Raju” had tears streaming down his face, as wildlife rescuers released him from his confinement in India last week.
Elephants are some of the most intelligent animals on Earth. Their brains weigh 5kg, much more than the brain of any other land animal. Their brains have more complex folds than all animals except whales, which is thought to be a major factor in their intellect. They commonly show grief, humor, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, tool-use, playfulness, and excellent learning abilities. An elephant in Korea surprised its zoo keepers by independently learning to mimic the commands they gave it by verbalizing on the end of its trunk, successfully learning 8 words and their context. Elephants have a more developed hippocampus, a brain region responsible for emotion and spatial awareness, than any other animal, and studies indicate that they are superior to humans in keeping track of multiple objects in 3D space. There are many reports of elephants showing altruism towards other species, such as rescuing trapped dogs at considerable cost to themselves. As mentioned above, they respect their dead and have death rituals. There are stories of the herds of elephants killed by humans retrieving the poached bones and returning them to the place of death to bury them