Grieving Elephants Weep As They Carry Dead Baby In 'Funeral' Procession

A procession of Indian elephants can be seen carrying the lifeless body of a member of the herd, in scenes reminiscent of human mourning ceremonies. A heart-rending video of elephants staging a "funeral" for one of their young has gone viral, sparking an outpouring of emotion on social media. The stunning footage was posted to Twitter by Parveen Kaswan, a forest ranger in the Indian Foreign Service, on Friday. It shows an adult Indian elephant emerging from a wooded area onto a road, carrying the lifeless body of a deceased infant with its trunk. It rests the body down, then appears to guard it as it waits for other members of the herd to follow. Walking in a line - not dissimilar to a funeral procession - both young and mature elephants gather around the carcass. -- Parveen Kaswan, IFS @ParveenKaswan: “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.”

With the group in tow, the body is carried off into the forest as passersby look on. It provoked outburst of emotion on the social media site, after it was re-tweeted more than 5,000 times, and received just short of 12,000 'likes'. Devika commented: "This is heart rending. There's a lot that humans can learn from animals." Sumita Bhatt added: "Omg!!! First time I hv seen such video… Really very touching" Mohan Alembath said it was a "very touching and emotionally disturbing video", observing that "elephants' capacity for complex emotions like grief is truly remarkable". While scientists warn against interpreting such displays as being motivated by "grief", elephants are one of a number of species who have been observed to mourn their dead. Elephants have been known to take special interest in the bones of their deceased, according to the Smithsonian magazine, and have been seen holding "funerals".

During these memorials, the animals have been known to repeatedly pass the deceased fellow herd member - even sometimes smelling and touching the dead body. Last year, images were circulated of a female killer whale carrying the body of her deceased calf on her back for more than two weeks through Canadian waters before releasing it.

UK Mirror: Grieving elephants weep as they carry dead baby in 'funeral' procession


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