Play Is Serious Business for Elephants

Play Is Serious Business for Elephants

Another elephant family was amassing in the southeastern forest and heading our way, and the adult females were wary. Play sharpens survival skills: Elephant calves extend an invitation to play by placing their trunk over another’s head (bottom). An older elephant may kneel down to provide an opportunity for a young male relative to spar (middle). The third main category of play is object play, which incorporates objects from the environment into the cavorting. Among wild elephants, play is almost always a group affair.

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