At the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand two female elephants bonded. Now I’m not an expert on elephants and whether or not they have the ability to mourn, but the park recently posted an article about Jokia, a female elephant who stood guard over her friend Mae Perm’s body and wouldn’t let the park workers take her body after she died. When they finally succeeded in removing Mae Perm’s body, the park reported that Jokia cried and moaned and refused food, choosing to seek out her best friend instead.
I understand how she felt. Elephants are known for their family connections so why not grieve a best friend? Now the park is trying to help Jokia make a new friend. They walked her around the park so she could meet new elephants. The plan seems to be working. This week they reported she met Yai Bua, an old lady elephant who was a recent addition to the park. The two used their trunks to touch and hug each other. And at night, Yai Bua stood guard over the younger Jokia. The park is hoping the two will bond. I’m hoping they will become friends too, but I can’t help wonder if elephants can replace a lost best friend? You know the saying, an elephant never forgets, and while as a human I do forget, I also know I’ll never find a replacement for my best friend Madeleine.