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An Elephant Never Forgets
October 8, 2006 10:14 AM   Subscribe

Elephant Rage might just tell us a lot about ourselves. There are rehab programs for elephants [mefi thread], and perhaps the ones for human victims can paired . This would be a pretty big step in acknowledging the trans-species psyche. Could this lead to a scientific revultion? Should it lead to an ethical one?
posted by cal71 (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Civilization really is the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it.

It has long been apparent that every large, land-based animal on this planet is ultimately fighting a losing battle with humankind.

And yet...

In the past 12 years, elephants have killed 605 people in Assam, a state in northeastern India, 239 of them since 2001; 265 elephants have died in that same period, the majority of them as a result of retaliation by angry villagers[.]

Sounds to me like they're turning the tide.

Also sounds like the monkeys are sleeping on the job. You think they'd be next in line to bump us off. Maybe they're letting the elephant intifada soften us up first, waiting to step in when a power vacuum appears.
posted by poweredbybeard at 10:12 AM on October 8, 2006


I meant "revolution." Sorry for the typo.
posted by cal71 at 10:16 AM on October 8, 2006


Wow, can the elephant threads be paired?
posted by imperium at 10:17 AM on October 8, 2006


Elephantfilter
posted by horsemuth at 10:18 AM on October 8, 2006


Oh, man! Who knew that we would have simultaneous elephant convergance online? Damn my doubling!
posted by cal71 at 10:20 AM on October 8, 2006


Here's another great elephant-related thread.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 10:27 AM on October 8, 2006


I really think this exploration of the elephant mind has huge implications. The fact that elephants and humans react in such similar ways to societal breakdowns, suggests that we have a lot to learn from each other about rebuilding society.
posted by cal71 at 10:30 AM on October 8, 2006


If nothing else, at least this excellent post will be accessible from the comments in the first one.
posted by owhydididoit at 10:31 AM on October 8, 2006


The fact that elephants and humans react in such similar ways to societal breakdowns, suggests that we have a lot to learn from each other about rebuilding society.

Wolves whose traditional territory is shrinking tend to become aggressive, and even cannibalistic, with eachother. I imagine this is the case with many mammals. But it is interesting that the elephants seem to be consciously revolting against humans. I guess they're even smarter than we thought.
posted by poweredbybeard at 10:37 AM on October 8, 2006


I think the articles I linked to don't really give enough credit the theory of human encroachment as part of the rage. Among humans, especially children, serious trauma related problems usually emerge as a result of multiple stressors, not just one (kids, and I now think elephants, can often mourn and deal with the loss of family, but the loss of family combined with hunger and loss of territory and continued danger can lead to all kinds of psychological problems).
posted by cal71 at 10:40 AM on October 8, 2006


Sounds to me like they're turning the tide.

265 dead Asian elephants is near decimation.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:07 AM on October 8, 2006


Humans, elephants, (and PTSD) may have a long-standing relationship, considering that we've kept them busy for centuries with wars and executions.
posted by cenoxo at 12:00 PM on October 8, 2006


It kind of bothered me, in the NY Times article, that in the cases of captured elephants killing humans, the elephants were named, and the humans they killed weren't. As if Winky and Misty were somehow more important than the unnamed zoologist and assistant caretaker each of them killed.

I think the writer of the article has already taken the next step and believes them to be intelligent beings.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:39 PM on October 8, 2006


Viva the congnitive revolution! This is a particularly tragic example of the new thinking in animal behavior, but I'm glad that it's happening.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 2:41 PM on October 8, 2006


Is Nessie a circus elephant?
posted by owhydididoit at 5:47 PM on October 8, 2006


How many elephants can you fit into a CAT scanner?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:21 AM on October 9, 2006


That NY Times article is great... Thanks, cal!
posted by BobFrapples at 12:24 PM on October 9, 2006


This is really terrible. Hope everything works out for the best.
posted by kayalovesme at 9:10 PM on October 27, 2006


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