Majestic, large, gentle and emotional creatures, Elephants are a force to be reckoned with. The history of humanity tells us that it is normally a male who leads a society to victory, whatever that may be; elephants, however, break with this trend. These highly sensitive and intelligent mammals have a very complex social hierarchy led, interestingly, by a female, or Matriarch. She is typically the oldest, and largest female of the heard the herd who leads a herd of females made up of mothers, daughters, aunts and sisters. It is also interesting to note that female and male elephants lead entirely separate lives unless engaged in mating.
These gentle beings express emotion in a variety of ways, and for a host of different reasons. Researchers have witnessed herds rejoicing at the birth of a new member, and also mourning the death of one. They are highly sociable animals and even interact peacefully with other herds and individuals from outside their own herd. Typically a herd is made up of 5 to 15 adults elephants and some immature males and females as well. As nature would have it, the herd does sometimes split
or breakaway to form a new herd usually due to the sexual maturation of members and also in order to, very cleverly, widen the gene pool. Even though members may leave a herd, they never forget their ancestry and keep tabs on their families through verbal and non-verbal communication.
Male elephants will move away from the herd at key times and lead mostly solitary lives. Sometimes they move in what are called bachelor pods. These pods are kept small and it is found that the members of the pod will often jostle for prime position which will enable them to mate with the receptive females. This kind of fight for dominance among the males is just nature’s way of ensuring that the strongest male passes his genes on in order to create strong healthy offspring.
Elephants have also been known to enter into same-sex couples and have been seen exchanging acts of affection. This is a common occurrence in the elephant world.