Elephants Adapting

Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches.--Mayo Clinic
© 2011 The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
12 feet tall. 22 feet long, 6 ton strong, African elephants are the largest animals on land.  Huge, resilient, they  thrive in varied terrain, forests, savannahs, and bush.  But it's not just their size that protects them from adversity.  Elephants survive habitat encroachment, captivity, and life with man by adapting, by 'rolling with the punches'.. 


One Kenyan elephant had developed a habit of marauding into  nearby farms. Conservators fitted his collar with a 'cell phone' which texted them when he began to rampage, so they could intervene. Eventually he was trained to quit his crop-trampling ways.  He adapted.

Meanwhile, a sanctuary in Tennessee treats elephants with PTSD using the same concepts which help humans overcome adversity:  control, optimism, relaxation,  storytelling, participatory listening and social bonding..

Social, group centered, elephants travel in packs and communicate with other elephant 'societies'.  Their connectedness and loyalty to the group protect them against the few natural predators willing to take them on: crocodiles, hyenas and the occasional lion.  There's a lesson there for us.

Today: take one step to expand your social network..  Hang out with a friend.  Join a club.  Throw a party.  Don't wait til the hyena is at the door.

Elephant Conservation Trips in Thailand offer a chance to learn more about these models of adaptation..

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