They say that an elephant never forgets. And in this case, what they say is true.
According to the Cleveland Zoological Society, elephants do have an excellent memory.
And for a very good reason.
An elephant’s memory helps it to survive. An elephant herd is headed up by a matriarch who stores information over the years of things that have happened in order to help their herd survive.
They can remember things like where a reliable source of water or food is.
Time and distance don’t really affect their memories either.
They impeccably retain this knowledge. Elephants also don’t forget a face.
They’ll remember elephants they’ve interacted with in the past and even humans.
“Even if it was many years ago, they become very animated and excited to be reunited. Elephants use their 10.5-pound brains to encode necessary identification and survival information to keep their herd safe in the wild,” the zoo explains.
An elephant’s ability to recognize its loved one after being separated is clearly displayed in the video below.
The video shows a herd of Kham Lha elephants who were thrilled to see a man named Darrick.
Darrick, who works for Thailand elephant rescue and rehabilitation organizations Elephant Nature Park/Save the Elephant, had been away from the herd for 14 months.
But the herd recognized him like had never left.
The elephants were just excited to see Darrick as he was to see them. The video shows Darrick calling out to the elephants that are walking toward him.
Then one elephant responds with a trumpet.
Darrick and the elephants call back and forth to each other as the elephants quicken their pace toward him.
One of the elephants is really hot footing it on over to Derrick.
The entire herd seems really happy to see their old friend again.
Finally, the matriarch reaches Darrick and stops in front of him so Darrick and pet her as she happily flaps her ears.
A second elephant catches up and does the same.
It wasn’t long before Darrick was surrounded by the herd who eagerly awaited his pets.
He made sure to show each of them affection and stroke their sides and trunks.
They all made joyful noises as if to say, “We missed you! Glad to have you back!”
One of the elephants then seems to escort him forward with their trunk.
This happy reunion was shared on elephant news’ YouTube page where it was viewed more than 11.8 million times!
Many commented on what a beautiful relationship this group had with one another and how remarkably intelligent elephants are.
“The elephants took extra care to be as gentle as possible with him. They realized how powerful they are and how fragile humans are. Amazing,” said another.