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What makes elephants so special?

Elephants are smart, sensitive, and creative animals. Here are eight features about elephants that are special.

1. They protect the environment
Elephants play an important role in supporting the natural environment in which they live. Whether it is in the forests or savannahs their role is important. By eating vegetation, they allow new plants to grow. Through their dung they have been planting trees for thousands of years, depositing partially digested seeds. By knocking down trees they create open spaces to allow other plant species to grow and provide food that many other animals rely on.

2. They mourn their dead
Elephants have close social groups so when there is a death they stand silently at the body of their companion. They may even return days after.

3. They really do have long memories
Elephants can live up to eighty years and have excellent ability to recall an event or a face they have previously encountered or not. They can log and pass on a wealth of social and practical knowledge to help they calves survive.

4. They are really clever
Elephants are intelligent in a number of ways: they can use tools, show empathy and have long-term memories.

5. They can point
How many animals can point without being taught it? That elephant trunk has another use!

6. They are caring
When an elephant comes towards the end of its life in the wild it will lose its molars and no longer be able to eat. A young bull will then chew branches for the elder bull and feed him.

7. They live in matriarchal societies
The head cow will lead a herd of females. Male elephants on the other hand, live apart from the matriarchal herd, and travel alone or with other males in a bachelor group.

8. Baby elephants are cute
Just like human babies suck their thumbs elephants suck their trunks. They also have babysitters and make friends for life.