Elephants are intensely sociable and emotional animals. Research by Iain Douglas Hamilton, from the department of zoology at Oxford University, suggests elephants experience compassion and has found evidence of elephants helping injured or ill members of their herd.
In one case, a Matriarch known as Eleanor fell ill and a female in the herd gently tried to help Eleanor back to her feet, staying with her before she died.
In 2003, a herd of 11 elephants rescued antelope who were being held inside an enclosure in KwaZula-Natal, South Africa.
The matriarch unfastened all of the metal latches holding the gates closed and swung the entrance open allowing the antelope to escape.
This is thought to be a rare example of animals showing empathy for members of another species – a trait previously thought to be the exclusive preserve of mankind.