Do Animals Have Emotions? Baby Elephant Cried For 5 Hours After Mother Rejected Him

Animal emotion is a complicated issue, and even though skepticism exists, many people maintain that animals do have emotions. If you have ever had a pet, you know from experience that animals are happy to receive care, love, and food, and become afraid and angry when threatened in a certain way.

There are numerous examples of animals displaying powerful emotions, like happiness, sadness, fear, and anger, and one such example was reported in 2013.

Namely, a baby elephant cried for five hours after being attacked and abandoned by his mother at the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Nature Reserve in Rongcheng, China.

In the wild, the birth of an elephant is a community event, and other elephants help the mother after the baby is born. Since the birthing process if extremely painful for the mother, the community helps her.

Yet, being confined, this mother rejected her baby as she had no support when she gave birth to her baby, which is a part of elephant natural behavior.

After they treated his injuries, zookeepers returned the dandy to her two hours ago, but she attempted to attack him again. According to them, the baby elephant cried for five hours before they could console it.

An employee of the zoo said:

“He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him.”

Photos of the crying baby elephant, with tears streaming from his red eyes and down his face, and lying under a blanket, weeping, broke the hearts of people all around the globe.

Zookeepers said that it recovered after they took care of him, but the mother became depressed and didn’t eat for some time.

The new arrival, named Zhuang-Zhuang, was eventually adopted by the keeper who saved him at the wild animal reserve.

Elephants are highly emotional, and they show various emotions, from joy and rage to grief and compassion. They often mourn the dead by touching the bones or circling the body.

Award-winning environmental writer Carl Safina notes:

 “Watching animals my whole life I’ve always been struck by how similar to us they are. I’ve always been touched by their bonds and been impressed—occasionally frightened—by their emotions. Life is very vivid to animals.

In many cases, they know who they are. They know who their friends are and who their rivals are. They have ambitions for higher status. They compete.

Their lives follow the arc of a career like ours do. We both try to stay alive, get food and shelter, and raise some young for the next generation. Animals are no different from us in that regard and I think that their presence here on Earth is tremendously enriching.”

Many members of the animal kingdom show feelings. Safina adds:

“It is incredible to me there is still a debate over whether animals are conscious and even a debate over whether human beings can know animals are conscious. If you watch mammals or even birds, you will see how they respond to the world. They play.

They act frightened when there’s danger. They relax when things are good. It seems illogical for us to think that animals might not be having a conscious mental experience of play, sleep, fear or love.”

On July 7, 2012, an international team of scientists at the University of Cambridge gathered to assess the conscious experience and related behaviors in human and non-human animals. Their statement, known as “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness”, concluded:

 “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.”