This 17 year old Asian elephant, Thongsri, comes to the aid of her caretaker.
Elephants — both African and Asian — are some of the most intelligent and emotionally complex animals on earth. In the wild, they live in matriarchal groups consisting of one or a few adult females (usually close relatives) and their young offspring. Adult males are mostly solitary.
A group of females and their young form strong social bonds and are very loyal to each other. Domesticated ones can include their caretakers as ‘members’ of their group.
Elephant Rescues Caretaker
When Thongsri, a 17-year-old female living at a sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand, saw her caretaker apparently being attacked, she rushed to his rescue.
This is an amazing set of videos, evidently compiled from a home surveillance system. The pictures were obviously taken from several angles, edited, and joined into a single video to tell the story. A large dog viciously attacks a small boy on a bike without apparent provocation. It grabs him by a foot and appears to be trying to drag him away when a cat suddenly comes to the boys rescue. You have to see it!
I’ve seen a lot of discussion on the net as to the validity of the videos. I’m no expert on video editing and assembling, but it looks real to me.
Personally, it seems to me the cat was simply rescuing a helpless member of her own family. Her pack or pride, if you prefer. It is my definite opinion that cats and dogs, as well as other mammals and birds, seldom get credit for their own intelligence and the empathy and affection that some of them show. They are more than just robots running on instinct.
I know almost nothing about the jungle cats from which modern house cats descended, but lions live in prides, feed and protect one another’s cubs, and cooperate in hunts and battles against other prides or groups of hyenas or baboons. Though it is less well known, feral house cats also form societies and cooperate with one another in various ways that appear to be for the good of the group.
Social animals like humans, wolves and dogs, some kinds of cat, porpoises, many kinds of bird, and others survive best in groups. Therefore, individuals who learn to live well as part of the group tend to survive best. This is why we develop morals and social skills that seem to benefit the group. It is actually for the benefit of the individual, but it helps everybody involved.
It seems clear to me this cat was protecting the “cub” that belonged to another member of her “pride.”
I tend to be more of a “dog person” (though my dogs never ran loose like this one). Regardless, THIS IS ONE GREAT CAT!