The tight social ties that exist between members of a species’ family and their friends are not unique to humans. The close bonds that many animals have with other members of their species—from primates to cetaceans and rodents—help them find love, friendship, safety, and joy.
Humans still have a lot to discover about animals. We overlook the fact that certain animals are likewise capable of carrying out the majority of our activities; we only fail to notice them since they might act in a different way.
Based on their own domesticated animals or pets, many people believe that all animals exhibit conscious behavior. Others oppose animal consciousness because it makes it simpler for humans to treat animals cruelly than it would be if we knew they were sad and suffering.
When you learn to know wild creatures, what you observe is significantly different from a chance encounter. Would you believe that all there is to humans is running around and drinking water if that’s all you saw them doing? You observe individuals differently if you know who is consuming the water or moving about.
Here are some creatures that demonstrate the depths to which animal relationships may go.
Elephants are renowned for their sharp minds, extensive memories, and strong familial ties. Between eight to one hundred elephants make up each herd, which is led by the matriarch, which is the oldest and typically largest female. She guides the other elephants to water and food using her vast expertise, which comes in very handy when there is a drought.
Male offspring typically depart the group between the ages of 8 and 13 when they reach puberty. Females from several generations work together to defend and raise the young. Elephants have been observed returning to the scene of a friend’s death and even touching the bones, exactly like humans do when a loved one passes away.
The exceptionally social grey wolves live in tiny packs. A male and female pair and all of their offspring are present in each pack. The lead pair is typically the sole couple in the pack, and they frequently remain partners for life. The majority of packs are tiny, with five to nine members. Wolves cooperate with one another and instruct their young how to hunt and avoid danger within their pack. Additionally, they use vocalizations to discuss whereabouts and alert other members of the pack to danger.
In the world of orcas, sticking close to mom is the norm, unlike some creatures who leave the nest as soon as they can. In actuality, orcas live their entire lives with their family. The pod sizes of the black and white cetaceans can range from five to fifty individuals. Similar to elephants, rearing offspring is a communal endeavour in which the adolescent females assist in taking care of the young. Parents of orcas educate their kids on how to hunt and divide their catch among the pod.
Dolphins are a species with deep social ties that show compassion for other members of their own species and non-dolphin species. They have also aided seals and whales in need. They have also saved humans from shark attacks and drowning. According to the BBC, the first time dolphins were seen trying to save another dolphin in trouble was in 2013, when five of them used their bodies to create a raft to hold a sick dolphin above water while 10 others took turns doing the same.
Of all the wild cat species, lions live in prides and are the most gregarious. Males live a rougher life as they age, but according to The Big Cats, old ladies, even those who have lost teeth, are cared for and fed. Male lions rub their heads together and lionesses lick each other to enhance their social ties.
Within chimpanzee troops, there is an established social structure. The bond between a mother and her children is so deep that it will persist even when they reach adulthood. Chimpanzees socially groom one another to keep each other’s bodies clean, but they also do it to reassure one another and keep their friendships strong, much like how lions reinforce their social ties. Similar to human civilization, chimpanzees live in groups called communities with a variety of sub-groups. To become the dominant male in the group, a male chimp must win the support of the other males. (Visala Kantamneni, 6 Animal Species with Strong Family Bonds, January 2022)
Animals experience life very vividly. Many times, they are aware of who they are. They are aware of their friends and competitors. They aspire to a higher position. They compete. Similar to how our lives unfold, theirs do as well. We both make an effort to remain alive, obtain food and shelter, and rear some offspring for the coming generation. Animals are similar to humans in that regard, and I believe their presence on Earth is incredibly enriching.