To anyone who has ever argued that animals don’t have feelings, please share this story with them.
Earlier this month, a train struck and killed an elephant in eastern India, near the village of Matari. While this, unfortunately, happens with some regularity in that region, the elephant’s herd are feeling grief and anger. About 15 elephants have been holding vigil near the site of the collision, disrupting other trains passing through. Mourning such as this is typical for elephants, but this particular herd is feeling a little extra anger, too. The elephants seem to understand that the death of their family member was human-related, and have taken revenge upon nearby villages. Villagers have been keeping watch all night, but it hasn’t stopped the heartbroken elephants, who have caused destruction to several homes and a schoolhouse.
Wildlife activist D S Srivastava says that bonds are strong among elephant families and they grieve deeply. “Elephants often try to return to the site of such accidents as they believe that their mate has only been injured and could be rescued by them. Even when an elephant dies a natural death, their friends cover the body with bushes and small tree branches.”
In order to restore safety in the targeted villages, officials had to drive the elephants away using firecrackers, but the elephants are still mourning at the train tracks.
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