In the Disney movie “The Lion King” the young lion cubs play and the hyenas hang out in an elephant graveyard.
The elephant graveyard, however, is a myth.
I have mentioned on this blog how elephants do mourn their deceased, and often investigate elephant bones and throw dust on them.
Yet, elephants do not go to a special place to die nor do elephants gather bones together to create a cemetery.
So, how did the myth develop? In the Kalahari desert of Botswana, locals likely found mass groupings of elephant bones. Since elephants are well known to be social, intelligent animals, the theory developed that they treated their dead similar to how humans do. Sadly, instead it was due to massive drought where entire herds perished.
Tragically, poachers have attacked elephants in certain small areas of national parks (borderlands are especially dangerous), so elephant graveyards may become a new reality – and hyenas will likely hang out there, feeding on remnants as poachers care solely about the tusks.
photo: taken at my local zoo