Heartbreaking Footage Shows Elephant ‘Death Ritual’ After Leader Was Killed

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A herd of elephants showed honour and respect for their leader who’d sadly lost its life to a rival tusker.

The heartbreaking footage of the elephants was taken near Anuradhapura, close to the Kalawewa reserve in Sri Lanka. The leader had been in conflict with the tusker elephant, and had been sadly killed by the rival.

The other elephants in the herd gathered around the animal, who lay dead on the ground by the water.

The emotional scene drew the attention of locals, who captured the footage:

According to National Geographic, a tusker elephant is one whose tusks grow so long, they reach the ground. The rival had reportedly been lingering around Kalawewa for several days before it got into a fight with the herd’s leader.

The elephants could be seen approaching their leader, gathering in groups – or by themselves – to honour the dead elephant. The herd, of up to 300 elephants, stayed close to the scene as they mourned their loss, with many stroking their trunks over the majestic animal’s body.

Elephants often form deep bonds and live in tight-knit groups. The herd is usually led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd, who’s called a matriarch, according to Defenders.

Elephants pay respectNewsflare

The creatures have been known to display grief, but scenes like the one in the video are rarely captured on camera. At one heartbreaking moment, a baby elephant lay its trunk on the leader’s body and leaned its head into it before turning away.

According to a wildlife official, the rival tusker returned to where the elephant’s body lay after the herd had left.

Much like humans, elephants are able to experience and articulate a range of emotions, including happiness, playfulness and grief.

Another of the majestic creatures showed their ability to care deeply for another being when it rushed to the rescue of its carer after it thought he was being hurt.

Check out the video here:

The elephant, named Thongsri, is a 17-year-old who lives in a sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Thongsri’s carer was pretending to fight with a companion and pushed him to the ground. Witnessing the scene, the caring animal came rushing over to lend its assistance, determined not to let the carer get hurt.

elephant protecting carerViralHog

The adoring animal circled its carer protectively, and even knelt on its knees to get as close as possible to the man.

The caring nature of the elephants is truly beautiful to watch.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.