Fact or Fiction?

by Daniel Mackie August 11, 2016

An elephant never forgets

Forest Elephant decorative design

Daniel's Forest Elephant design captures the animal's more pensive side, compared to the Elephant Spraying Water which depicts its playful nature. Adding this rare species to the Collection was not easy. Daniel's first drawing of a Forest Elephant needed completely re-working - read about the process in his creative blog

More than just being thoughtful the elephant is seen as wise across different cultures. In West Africa the Ashanti people's tradition says that elephants are the spirits of wise old Chiefs. Many African folk tales show the elephant in a Chief's role, wisely settling the other animal's disputes. Indian elephants are no less well thought of. The Hindu god Ganesha, who is associated with intellect and wisdom, is shown as having an elephant's head. 

Where does the elephant's wisdom come from? The African tale of how the elephant got its trunk does not show it as particularly wise. Perhaps its long life and prodigious memory are thought to bestow wisdom - after all, it is said an elephant never forgets. But is it just her large head, and therefore brain, that gives rise to this belief? Or do elephants really have a good memory?

It seems science does bear out this saying. Studies have shown elephants can remember their way around their entire home territory. They also remember members of their herds even after decades. When a herd becomes too large, the eldest daughter breaks off to form a new group. Scientists have noted elephants recognising each other after as long as 23 years. 

So as much as the largest of the land mammals is fun and playful, it is also wise and thoughtful - what a fantastic combination. 

Daniel's Forest Elephant design is available as an art print.

Shop the entire Wild Animals Collection.

Daniel Mackie
Daniel Mackie


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