A herd of elephants in Malaysia smashed up a car after it struck one of their babies on Sunday night.
That (frankly understandable) response shows how the highly emotional animals will do anything to protect their own, an elephant advocate said.
“If you put yourself in their position, if your kid was hit by a car and you felt that people were negligent or whatever you thought, I suppose you or your family might fly into a rage or scream or shout at people also,” Joyce Poole, who co-founded an elephant research and advocacy nonprofit called Elephant Voices, told Business Insider.
Three people were driving in a compact car when they struck the elephant calf in Gerik, Malaysia, on Sunday night, CNN reported, citing local authorities.
It was rainy and foggy, and the car was rounding a bend on a major highway when it hit the calf, who had been walking across the road with a herd of 5 other elephants, Gerik police told CNN.
When the calf fell to the ground, the troupe of elephants stampeded the car in retaliation, bashing in its side doors and smashing all of its windows, police told CNN.
It’s not clear if the three people were still inside the vehicle at the time, but no injuries were reported, according to CNN.
The baby elephant was able to get up and the herd ran off, the outlet reported.
Poole, a wildlife ecologist who studies elephant behavior, told BI that what the herd did to that car is “not atypical” for the highly protective, emotional creatures.
“They’re really tightly bonded families,” Poole said.
Female elephants, she said, live together for their entire lives and the matriarchal society is fiercely loyal, especially to their young.
“So absolutely, if they feel that a member of their family is threatened, they pull together as a united force. And whether that means just threatening and making a commotion or it means bashing a vehicle, they’ll do it,” Poole added.
Poole explained that when either humans or other animals threaten a member of the pack, the herd forms what experts call a “coalition,” coming “to the rescue” as a unit to attack the aggressor.
“If a calf even as much as squeaks, everybody has to run over and see whether it’s okay,” Poole told BI.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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