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Mother's Day

May 10, 2018

5 Things That Make Elephant Mothers Stand Out

African elephant calves can be clumsy. Like (rather large) newborn babies, they may not have figured out what plants to eat or how to control their trunks. Enter mom, whose bond with her calf tends to be tight. For Mother's Day, these are some of the things that make her shine.

1. Imagine That

Female elephants are pregnant an average of almost two years (22 months), longest of any land mammal. When the females do give birth, the calves can weigh more than 200 lbs.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

2. Where I Can See You

Very young calves stay close to mom, rarely straying further than 15 feet or so away.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

3. Life Lessons

A mother elephant teaches her calf a great deal in the first few years, including how to select food and how to use one's trunk to eat and drink.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

4. Herd Mentality

Often, a newborn elephant has more than its mother looking out for it. If a predator approaches, adults in the herd will circle the baby for protection.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

5. The Matriarch

A herd of elephants depends on its elder female. She has a powerful memory that leads her herd to food and water in times of drought.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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