Elephants by name and very much elly-like by nature, our Elly Herd is a tight female family group. We of course adore the male members of our herd, but we take extra care of women workers around the world and take pride in being able to do so. Like ellies, we are surrounded by a doting collective of “aunties”, also known as clients, who encourage us with their constant praise of new products and designs made for us by skilled artisans. Lovingly referred to as the matriarch of our herd, I have a deep admiration of these magnificent animals.
Always astounded by their intelligence, it still humbles me that elephants can be so compassionate, altruistic and playful considering their immense size! Just like us, ellies love to hug and do so by wrapping their trunks together – adorable! What’s even more heart-warming is that some elephants suck their trunks for comfort, like humans suck their thumbs! Self-awareness is a trait possessed by very few animals but elephants are so cute with their 5 inch eyelashes that they actually love to look at themselves in the mirror! Vain, moi?!
As you may know, I love to travel and I make sure to visit elephant sanctuaries and orphanages as often as possible. Elephants have amazing memories and are even able to recognise and distinguish human voices so when in India, I make sure I pop in on one of my favourite ellies, Lakshmi, to deliver big bunches of bananas by the kilo! We love going bananas together! Ellies can tell the difference between human languages, male and female voices, friendly voices and those associated with danger so please be especially kind to them at all times and remember, “an elephant never forgets”.
Here’s a fun fact – did you know that unlike me, elephants can’t jump? They keep one foot on the floor at all times and despite their weight, the African elephants stand on their tippy toes! I love to jump around, singing, dancing and skipping whenever I can. We do however both love to swim but much to my chagrin, I don’t have a built in trunk for a snorkel – if only!
Here’s a fascinating fact – African elephants can be recognized by their large ears shaped like the continent of Africa whereas Asian elephants have smaller ears shaped like India! Wonders of nature never cease to amaze me.
I must admit though, there are 2 aspects of elephant life I am glad I don’t share with the ellies. The first is the need to feed for 12 to 18 hours a day! If this were the case, I would most certainly be the size of an elly! The second is being pregnant for 2 years – imagine that!!! No thank you. Not to mention giving birth to a 120kg baby!
Here’s a cute fact – elephants are born blind and so rely on their mummies heavily for guidance during the first few years. They have quite poor eyesight and are colourblind but can see in the dark. They communicate with one another using sound, touch and scent and have excellent hearing of up to 8km away!
Along with having the largest brain in the animal kingdom, elephants also have an astonishing number of muscles in their very useful trunks – 40,000! Their eating habits create a huge amount of waste per week which in turn keeps the soil fertile and also disperses tree seeds. Without actively knowing it, elephants play a hugely important role in balancing natural ecosystems; they trample forests and dense grasslands, making room for smaller species to co-exist and create water holes & footpaths used by other wildlife, literally changing the landscape around them.
Impossible not to admire and respect them,right?
Ellies, we love you!