One Of Us
I find it so fascinating that we have gathered enough global knowledge, some of it compiled now, ( via scientific studies, wildlife specialists, rehabilitation centers, etc.) to understand that there are incredible bonds, emotions, protectiveness, caring and kindness going on in the realm of wildlife.
Take the elephant for instance, who is able to feel compassion for another less fortunate animal, and not always of the same species. I heard a lecture recently where the focus was on one band of elephants, which had a disabled and stunted member in their group. One day the group was observed leaving a watering place where there happened to be a steep cliff. The leader took some time finding a safe route, when she could have run up wherever she wanted. They all left the area slowly, much more slowly than other bands have been seen to do. As they retreated the disabled one tried twice to climb the same route picked out by the leader, but she just couldn’t do it. On her third try, up behind her came some help – a young male from the group returned to help by gently pushing her all the way up the incline. In other observations of this same group – the leader (being the largest, tallest, smartest of the group) could reach the choice branches to feed on, but instead of just feeding herself, she would break off a branch or two and drop it on the ground… where, you guessed it – the little runt of the group could feast on.
I have also seen footage of elephants at a rehabilitation center who helped raise funds for the center (and entertain the guests) by creating paintings. Yep paintings. They were kind of like rough cave drawings but I could definitely see things like a large red flower, a tree, a pond – forming in their art. Amazing stuff. And the individual elephants would paint different things, different colors. So it wasn’t like one elephant was trained to do a certain pattern and would only do that one pattern.
Elephants have also been proven to be able to recognize self – as in see themselves in a reflection and know it is their reflection. They have become the best of friends on a one-on-one basis with an array of animals from different species from goats to dogs and beyond.
These are, of course, just a tiny fraction among hundreds of similar studies that have had similar results - even though these studies were done on a wide array of intelligent species ranging from dogs to dolphins.
Viewing animals in such a way helps humanity regard them as “one of us” and therefore we can feel for, and empathize with, them. We become conscious of them, we feel compelled to protect their rights as we would protect our own rights.