But do an elephant's tears fit the bill of emotional crying?
That's tougher to say. Marc Bekoff, who taught evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, points to other Raju and other anecdotes to make the case that it's possible elephants weep with emotion. In 2013, for example, a newborn elephant calf cried for five hours after his mother rejected him.
But -- just as humans don't flare our ears to show aggression (as elephants do) -- it's more likely that elephants would use elephant behaviors to convey sadness. "There are many reports of elephants in terribly sad situations, and not many reports of them weeping," Lindsay says. "There are lots of postural cues, vocalizations, possibly even odors that could let other elephants know when one is unhappy."
That being said, both Bekoff and Lindsay agree that animal emotions should not be dismissed as unknowable. To know if elephants weep, "we need to study it in more detail," Bekoff writes.
For now -- for Raju -- it should be enough to know that elephants feel sadness. The beauty of this elephant's story isn't whether or not he wept, but that an intelligent, emotional creature is now free from abuse.