Family is an essential part of a human's lives. They are there to raise and support you throughout your life. Even with animals, a family is a crucial part of life - especially in elephants.
Elephants live in herds for most of their lives. These herds can consist of two to fifty elephants who are immediate family to the matartich. There are occasions when a herd might have females who are not related, but that is rare. Females stay in these herds their entire lives while males separate.
Elephant research has discovered that an elephant family holds a strong bond. They are loyal and work together. When one of them is being attacked, they all come together to defend and protect. They all rejoice when a calf is born. Elephants even mourn the deaths of one of their family members.
The term "matriarch" means the female who is head of the tribe. In the elephant kingdom, the matriarch is typically the oldest and largest female in the herd. This head elephant is the one who leads a herd of her daughters and their offspring.
Elephant research has found that the matriarch is the one that influences the herds more than another elephant. She leads the family to locations where there is water, food and keeps them away from any danger. When there is a crisis, she is the one the other elephants to look to for advice.
As the oldest, the matriarch teaches the other elephants how to care for the young. The younger female elephants are taught how "babysit" their sisters' babies. Baby elephants are born with no instinct patterns - everything needs to be taught by their mothers or aunts.
The difference between male and female elephants
Even though male and female elephants live around each other, they follow different rules. The female elephants stay with the herd and follow the matriarch. While the male elephants, follow the heard from a distance and have fewer regulations.
Female elephants, also known as cows, live together in a herd of the matriarch, their sisters, aunts, and other mothers. They usually live together all their life spans. There are occasions when a female elephant can separate herself from the herd if she isn't treated well. Female elephants travel together and teach each other how to take care of their offspring.
Unlike female elephants who travel with the herd, male elephants typically travel alone or with a small group called bachelor pods. These are pods that consist of other male elephants looking to find mates. Male elephants, also known as bulls, live alone and only come into contact with female elephants for mating purposes.
When elephants live in the wild with their families, they can live for about 56 years. That is not the case for elephants who live in captivity. Elephant research has found that elephants live in zoos only live for nearly 17 years.
Understanding why elephants are not self-sustaining in captivity is our priority! Researchers, like us, are working to understand the causes of morbidity, mortality, and poor reproductive performance is our highest priority. For Elephants is using research save elephants from extinction. You can help our research by making a small donation today.