Elephants Never Forget

Elephants Never Forget

“Elephants never forget—or at least, they don’t forget their friends,” reports New Scientist magazine. Dr. Karen McComb of the University of Sussex, England, recorded the low-pitched “contact calls” of female African elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, noting which elephants would meet together frequently and which were strangers. She then played back their calls to 27 elephant families to study their responses. If the animals knew the caller well, they immediately called back. If they knew the caller only slightly, they listened but did not respond, and an unfamiliar call made them agitated and defensive. “They could recognise members of at least 14 other families from their calls, which suggests that each elephant can remember around 100 other adults,” the article stated. Elephants may remember humans too. John Partridge, head of mammals at England’s Bristol Zoo, says that an Asian elephant he worked with for 18 years recognized him when he returned after a three-year break.

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