Keith Lindsay, a conservation biologist and scientific advisor with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya, told The Dodo that although all members of an elephant family will mourn a death, mothers often take it the hardest. "Elephant mothers are particularly affected by the death of a young calf or newborn, and may spend days standing with, touching and even attempting to lift the body of their departed offspring. I have seen a female African elephant carry the body of her stillborn calf with her as she moved for several days," he said.
Elephants live in close-knit family groups, and have often been observed helping each other out, even in times of mourning. "When a member of an elephant herd dies, the other elephants gather around and gently touch the body with their trunks and feet," Andrea Crosta, Director of the Elephant Action League, told The Dodo. "They press together and console each other, grieving for the loss. You can see the suffering on their face and in their posture. They will watch over their relative for days and make mournful-sounding noises, sometimes defending the body against predators."