It's World Elephant Day!
Did you know that elephants are one of the only known species apart from humans to practice ritual behaviour when confronting death?
They are a truly remarkable species from whom we can learn much. 55 elephants per day, that's one elephant every 25 minutes are killed by poachers.
Read about the trials and tribulations of the elephant herd represented in my Biro drawing 'Rhino' 2014 here:
Elephant Calf (left) – depicting one of the most moving sequences from Sir David Attenborough's BBC series ‘Africa’ this drawing portrays the moment a starving elephant calf, too weak to hold up its head, collapses into the drought-ridden grass. This drawing symbolises that elephants endure natural adversities as well as poaching for their tusks.
Mother Elephant (centre) – layered above the dying calf is a detail of its mother elephant weeping over the death of her calf. Having stood vigil and tried to revive the calf, she accepts its death. Elephants are the only known species apart from humans to practice ritual behaviour when confronting death, including grief and have been known to show the same emotions when encountering human death.
Adult Elephant (far right) – layered through the dying calf is a drawing of a triumphant adult elephant drinking from a water hole, which celebrates the monumental greatness of the largest land mammal on earth, surrounded by the slight statures of gazelles and zebra.
Dead Elephant Calf and Mother Elephant (below) – a tiny drawing through the centre of the piece shows the body of the dead calf lying in the dust and the moment the mother elephant senses she has to leave her calf and return to the herd. Left behind to tend the sick calf the herd are bound to continue their quest to find water and avoid further loss. As she turns and walks away on her journey a faded image of another adult elephant beyond her indicates that she eventually reaches the herd.