Elephants Want Revenge?

The UK Telegraph summarizes a story in the New Scientist (the original seems to be behind a pay wall) as suggesting that elephants are seeking revenge for the killing of their relatives and friends,

The reputation that elephants have for never forgetting has been given a chilling new twist by experts who believe that a generation of pachiderms may taking revenge on humans for the breakdown of elephant society.

The New Scientist reports today that elephants appear to be attacking human settlements as vengeance for years of abuse by people.

But later in the story this starts to seem a bit sensationalist: the real problem may be that the killing of older, wiser elephants has created a generation of “juvenile delinquents”.

Destined for reform school?

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3 Responses to Elephants Want Revenge?

  1. Memory is one thing – organized “crime” is another.

    Or the human population may just be crowding the elephant herd too closely (leading to both killing herd members, and herd members attacking, but not with the sort of motive of “Oh my god, they killed Dumbo!”).

  2. Allison says:

    Aha!!! I knew my Ad Law exam question wasn’t too far-fetched (though I do realize that circus elephants act/react for very different reasons than wild ones).

    This seems similar to that Michael Douglas/Val Kilmer movie, A Ghost in the Darkness, but there they were dealing with rogue lions.

    Mother Nature and her destructive weather capabilities + animals gone bad + all the other dumb things we do to ourselves = Yikes! Certain doom for humans, no?

  3. Brett says:

    It might make good evolutionary sense that when a population’s behavior leads to the death of older and wiser elephants, younger elephants tend to try out a wider range of behaviors. With or without a cause related to the internal life of elephants, the outward manifestation of the phenomenon is the same.

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