When visiting the¬†Addo National Elephant Park¬†in the Eastern Cape you’ll see plenty of gorgeous African elephants. The elephant is an amazing creature; beautifully large and quite unique in the animal kingdom. When staying at any of the numerous¬†Addo lodges¬†you’ll learn a lot about this animal and its ways. Surprisingly elephants and humans have a few interesting similarities; as the two mammals on earth with the highest longevity this is quite fitting. The longest living mammal is the human with 110 years and second to the human is the elephant with 65 years. But how many other similarities are there?
Let’s start at hello. The way elephants greet each other is similar to the way humans say “hello.” Where humans shake hands as a way of greeting one another, elephants tend to intertwine their trunks and this is how they convey their polite ‘hello’. Funnily enough research has shown that the elephant flirts similar to the human; this can be seen in the way the elephants look at each other and alluring side-glances have been noted.
Family bonding, childcare and the litter. The ideal human family is a close and loving group of people who are involved in each other’s lives. Elephants are the same; when the family members have been separated for some time they tend to show loads of affection to one another. They intertwine their trunks, even hug or gently rub each other and give one another a friendly bump on the foreheads. Childcare is similar in the way that both elephant parents are also active in taking care of the infant for years. Matured elephants are sent away from the herd to roam as a “lone tusker” ‚Äď much like human teenagers do after finishing high school. Both mammals are known to carry one child at a time and in some cases they may conceive twins.
Communication. Both mammals express themselves through vocal signals ‚Äď elephants just tend to do it much louder than we do with their infrasonic sounds and ground vibrations which can be heard from afar. Elephants are also known for calling for help similar to the way humans do and seeing that you can hear them from kilometres away, it definitely works.
Mourning. Another surprising similarity between humans and elephants are the way we mourn. Not only do animals take care of their family members or friends who fall ill, but in severe cases where the elephant dies they are known to mourn as a group for a certain amount of time and then also to cover the body with some dirt. This truly showcases the sadness these animals feel for losing a loved one and proving they are truly intelligent animals.
Next time you visit the Addo Elephant Park and stay over in one of the numerous comfortable Addo lodges don’t miss out on doing as many¬†game drives¬†as you possibly can. This way you might just see, with your own eyes, the similarities between elephants and humans.