Heartbreaking video shows a herd of elephants carrying a dead calf and gathering around to mourn in a forest
In a heartbreaking video shared on Twitter on Friday by Parveen Kaswan, an Indian Forest Service officer, a herd of elephant was seen "mourning" the death of a baby elephant.
In the video, which was shared widely, an elephant can be seen carrying the calf with its trunk and placing it in the middle of the road, and in what seemed like a funeral procession other elephants of the herd soon joined the adult elephant in grieving.
Kaswan captioned the video, "This will move you !! Funeral procession of the weeping elephants carrying the dead body of the child elephant. The family just don’t want to leave the baby."
The elephant later carried the baby elephant off into the woods as passersby watched. Many commented on the video about how heartbreaking it was.
"This is heart-rending. There's a lot that humans can learn from animals," Twitter user Devika commented. A person with the handle @vaibhav55444 added, "These animals are more sensitive than us, humans! We have need to learn from them."
Many agreed with this sentiment and tweeted their appreciation for what they saw as sensitivity in the animals.
This will move you !! Funeral procession of the weeping elephants carrying dead body of the child elephant. The family just don’t want to leave the baby. pic.twitter.com/KO4s4wCpl0— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) June 7, 2019
According to a report in Mirror, however, scientists warn against interpreting such displays as emotional grief. The report also quotes the Smithsonian magazine to explain that elephants take a special interest in the bones of their deceased. They are known to pass the dead member of the herd, sometimes even smelling them and touching the carcass.
Similar instances of other animals grieving dead members were also cited to inform how different animals react. For instance, images of a female whale carrying the body of her deceased calf on her back in the Canadian waters were shared by Center for Whale Research last year, and the female whale only let go of the calf after a couple of weeks.
In 2017, a team of primate researchers from Zambia shared footage of a mother Chimpanzee cleaning debris of her deceased child's teeth with dried grass. According to scientists, per the report, it implied that chimpanzees continue to feel social bonds even after death.