Elephants never forget they say. At least, they never forget their friends. A touching photo carried by MSN Now on Oct. 2 shows a female elephant mourning over her fallen friend. The photo was part of the 2012 National Geographic Traveler photo contest.
Taken by John D. Chaney, the viral photo is a reminder of this magnificent creature’s capacity to express grief and compassion. Chaney describes the scene when he took the photo:
“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.”
The close bond between elephants demonstrates the fact they are highly intelligent. They communicate with a set of “rumblings” that are indiscernible to humans, using vocal cords so huge that the basic frequency of the sounds they produce is 20 cycles per second or less—well below the range of human hearing.
Such deep rumblings carry well, and elephants can recognize them from a mile away. They can also identify as many as 150 different calls, responding positively to the signals of family members and those bonded to their group.