A recent study of elephants living in Amboseli found they had the ability to discern danger and react accordingly to the danger posed by man and lions. This ability to distinguish whether a predator is worth fussing over is extremely important for wild populations competing with other animals over food and space and it's something we could learn. After all, says Graeme Shannon who led the research: "If they responded to every single stimuli that actually has a fitness cost," Shannon says, "because they would stop feeding and run every time."
If, like us, you think that elephants have much to teach us then you better get learning fast. Last year, up to 50,000 of these sentient beings were killed by humans for their tusks to fuel a demand for ivory. It equates to an elephant being killed every 15 minutes. With an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 elephants remaining, it does not take a mathematician to realize that without significant intervention to protect elephants in the wild and end demand for ivory, elephants could soon be extinct and then we will only find them in books!
We have so much more to learn from elephants and, as the self-proclaimed dominant species, we have a responsibility and the ability to protect them.
Find out more about elephants at www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org