How Smart Are Elephants?

Answer by Rory Young, Professional Safari Guide, Ranger and Tracker

“The animal which surpasses all others in wit and mind”, said Aristotle.

Since Aristotle and long before, people who have been privileged to spend time observing and interacting with elephants have expressed similar sentiments.

They have been trained for thousands of years to do everything from play soccer to destroy the enemy on the battlefield. They were the tanks of the ancient world and the front end loaders and the tractors. Their size and strength are of course, second to none.

There are many tales and legends told about elephants, both long ago and today in many different languages and among very different cultures. What is so telling about these stories is that they don’t usually go on about their incredible size and strength, because that is obvious. What they all eagerly tell of is the great intelligence, formidable memories and complex nature of these gentle giants.

Now, I have to be honest and say that when people ask me how clever a particular animal, such as a lion for example is, I usually say, “a lion is a genius at being a lion”. What I am trying to say —> Read More Here


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