A reminder of just how smart and majestic elephants really are.
Elephants are truly fascinating creatures. They have the largest brain of any land animal and almost three times as many neurons as a human. They use tools, have extraordinary memories and are empathetic.
Elephants are even known to mourn their dead in a manner similar to humans. Or, just maybe, we mourn the dead just like elephants?
A new video taken at the Shendiao Wild Animal Nature Reserve in China shows a 25-year-old male elephant named Shan Mai proving that elephants are not only smart but can be courteous, too.
In the video, which has been seen more than 2 million times on Twitter alone, Shan Mai finds a shoe that was dropped by a child. He then locates the kid outside of his enclosure and returns the footwear. After giving the shoe back he waits for a beat anticipating the tip of a small handful of hay. It’s like they made a trade.
\u201cThis elephant was up to the... tusk \ud83d\udc18 The animal returned a child\u2019s shoe after it fell into its zoo enclosure in eastern China\u201d— NowThis (@NowThis) 1660602780
Many people replied to the tweet by praising the elephant’s intelligence and compassion. While others made the point that something so magnificent shouldn’t be behind bars in a zoo. “Aww the poor thing. Wish he was in the wild though,” daffodil wrote.
The video serves as a reminder of how incredible these animals are and why humans must work to protect them. According to the WWF the number of wild elephants on the planet has been cut in half over the last three generations and only 40,000 to 50,000 currently live in the wild.