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6 animals with strong family bonds

By: Ali Berman on July 6, 2015, 3:35 p.m.
An elephant walks in the African savanna

Photo: Johan W. Elzenga/Shutterstock

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Elephants

Elephants are known for their intelligence, long memories and deep family bonds. Each herd can consist of anywhere between eight and 100 elephants and is led by the oldest and usually the largest female in the group known as the matriarch. Her mind is a treasure trove of knowledge, leading the other elephants to water and food, an especially critical skill during times of drought.

Each herd is made up largely of females as the male offspring tend to leave the group between the ages of 12 and 15. The females, often the grandmothers, daughters and grandchildren, and sometimes other elephants that join the herd, help each other raise the babies and keep them protected. By babysitting, the younger females learn how to be good mothers when their time comes. Just recently a whole herd was filmed as they tried to help one of the babies get up after falling down on a busy road. It takes a village, right?

And, just like humans, elephants mourn the loss of their loved ones. They have been documented returning to the place where a friend died and even touching the bones.