Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Elephants Mourn Loss of "Elephant Whisperer" Lawrence Anthony

Elephant grief and mourning include the loss of their human friend

We all know that many animals grieve the loss of family and friends and here's a wonderful acknowledgement of broken-hearted elephants mourning the loss of their human friend, Lawrence Anthony, author of The Elephant Whisperer (see also and). 

"Tonight at Thula Thula, the whole herd arrived at the main house, home to Lawrence and I. We had not seen them here for a very long time. Extraordinary proof of animal sensitivity and awareness that only a few humans can perceive. And Lawrence was one of them. Thank you for your wonderful messages. Lawrence's legacy will be with us forever at Thula Thula."

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Mr. Anthony also did incredible work to rescue animals at the Baghdad Zoo who were caught in the cross-fire of a horrific war. 

In an earlier essay I wrote: "Of course our nonhuman companions also grieve the loss of their human friends. Many show such deep and enduring loyalty and devotion that they continue to follow the same routines in which they took part with their human friend for years after the human died or they choose to live out their lives where their human is buried." More examples can be found here

We really don't need more data to know other animals grieve and mourn the loss of family and friends and I'm sure as time goes on more and more species will be added to the list of animals who grieve.

Grieving and mourning clearly show that nonhuman animals are socially aware of what is happening in their worlds and that they feel deep emotions when family and friends die. Clearly we're not the only animals who possess the cognitive and emotional capacities for suffering the loss of others.

The teaser image can be found here

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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