D – Death

Note: This entry may not be appropriate for young children. The content is not upsetting but if you’re not ready to introduce the idea of death you may choose another entry.

D is for Death

D is for Death (elephant bones)

D is for Death

D is for Death (touching a skull bone)

Elephants can feel sadness and grieve their dead. When a herd comes across the bones of an elephant, they mourn the dead, especially a relative. They will surround the bones, then smell and touch the bones thoroughly using their trunks. Finally, they will touch the bones carefully with their feet.

In the wild, elephants have few predators. Calves or sick elephants are susceptible to lions due to their size and difficulty with mobility. Elephants went through population decline due to poaching by hunters in the ivory trade. Land development for human populations has encroached on the large expanses of land elephants naturally need. One result has been increased violent conflicts between elephants and humans (in Africa). National parks and zoos take in elephants.

The African elephant is listed as an endangered species (US Endangered Species Act, and International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). However, in the countries of Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia, the African Elephant has been reclassified as a threatened species.