ESSAY: Human Females Should (Could) Be More Like Elephant Females

Matriarch Felicity leads her family in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Courtesy of or Photo by V. Fishock, Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

By Katarzyna Nowak, Lauren McCall, and Isabel Behncke

What unique skills do women hold for the future of our species and the ecosystems we have come to dominate? What can we learn from elephants as human societies become more out of balance with nature?

They and Us

Elephants and humans are prominent forces in nature. They and us are both long-living, slow-developing, highly social and vastly intelligent “keystone” species, on which many members of our ecosystems depend. Keystone species are by definition highly interactive, creating, maintaining, and modifying the niches or ecological spaces in a biological community. They influence the behavior, reproduction, and diversity of other animals, and the opportunities available to them.

Elephants, as the largest terrestrial herbivores on Earth, maintain savannas, open up woodlands, and plant forests. Humans, of course, do this as well, by altering habitats and domesticating animals and plants, some of which have become our essential resources.

But humans, unlike elephants, are causing the sixth mass extinction through the destruction of habitats and overexploitation of species on a global scale.

Here, we look to elephants to help shape and motivate our path toward social and ecological knowledge and stewardship. We hope that readers will take our perspective as a thought —> Read More Here


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