In a form of Retreat-From, an elephant may walk away in reverse, or Back-Away, from a threatening elephant or situation. In a sexual context an estrous female may Back-Away to avoid male advances. The individual may adopt a submissive posture such as Head-Low and/or act with Wariness.

References: Kühme 1961; Poole & Granli 2011; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2011 [Back up]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Avoidance, Submissive


Context: Submissive (1)

G7 joins the Mabenzi family. As he arrives he sees Gogogo in musth and he stops and Looks-At. As Gogogo Advance-Toward G7 Backs-Away. While G7 sniffs toward the musth male, Gogogo reaches his Trunk-to-Genitals to test an adolescent female who is standing next to Valente. Although there is no audio, we can see her open her mouth and flap her ears as she vocalises. Gogogo steps forward and G7 Orients-Away in submission. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Submissive (2)

A 15 year old male has been hassling estrous female Ozora. As she approaches him she is followed by Guarding musth male Liaqat and others to whom the young male is subordinate. He Backs-Away as they approach him. But when Liaqat stops to threaten another male he uses the opportunity to hassle Ozora again and they have a short clash of tusks before Liaqat once again appears and the young male turns away. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Submissive (3)

Titus is Waiting for some movement and a Mating opportunity. He is watching the Guarding musth male, Liaqat, who is out of view. As Liaqat starts to move after the estrous female, Ozora, Titus Backs-Away from him and then Orients-Toward Ozora. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Submissive (4)

There was tension around an estrous female and two males began an Escalated-Contest which lasted close to 4 hours. During this period they engaged in 3 bouts of Dueling. After two of these both males engaged in Check-Tusk. This clip is the last Dueling bout.

As the clip begins they Advance-Toward one another Ear-Spreading and Ear-Folding. They reach toward one another in reciprocal Trunk-to-Mouth. The broken-tusked male Backs-Away and the male with the longer tusks presses forward in a Circus-Pose. He Pushes the broken-tusked male back as they clash and we hear Tusks-Clank. The broken-tusked male then Pushes back. They separate. The broken-tusked male Backs-Away and they both Check-Tusks, longer tusked male Check-Tusks x 2 and then Advances-Toward his competitor who continues to Back-Away. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Submissive (5)

Following on 20 minutes after Coalition. Context Aggressive 1 and after a third bout of Dueling (Dueling. Context Aggressive 5) between Male 1 the longer tusked male and Male 2, the broken-tusked male (won by Male 1), Male 4 comes to Male 2's assistance again.

As this clip begins we see Male 2 Back-Away from Male 1 who Advances-Toward him. Male 2 Looks-Back as if Waiting for someone. Male 2 continues to Back-Away but suddenly Male 1 draws up short Head-High as if he has seen someone coming. Male 2 continues to Back-Away and male 1 Advances-Toward him for about 25 meters. We see Male 2 stop and Look-Back. Both Wait. Male 1 Backs-Away a few steps. Male 2 continues to Look-Back and then suddenly Male 4 (larger than both Male 1 or 2) enters the view with a Periscope-Trunk and Male 2 turns and the two form a Coalition and Group-Advance on Male 1. Male 2 adopts an aggressive posture and Purposeful-Walk as he moves toward Male 1 who Backs-Away. Male 1 continues to Back-Away until Male 2 is within 2 meters of him and Male 4 is about 15 meters away and coming fast. Then he turns and Runs-Away with Male 2 Running-After him. Male 4 stops and watches and then having apparently accomplished his goal he walks away. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Submissive (6)

This is a short section of a close to three hour Escalated-Contest in which an older male intervenes at least 5 times to help the male with the broken tusks. In this last incidence of this behavior the older male enters from the right and immediately the broken tusked male Advances-Toward the longer-tusked male with a very aggressive posture - Open-Mouth, Trunk-Curled-Under as if to bounce or drag, Ears-Folded. He moves rapidly toward the longer-tusked male who Backs-Away 35 paces.

The broken-tusked male continues to Ear-Fold the entire way. The older male follows them in a lazy sort of way. The broken tusked male is really pushing for a fight and they make contact briefly. But the older male comes up close to them; it is hard to tell but it looks as if he gives the aggressor a slight threat and he appears to Retreat-From. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Submissive (7)

This is a short section of a close to three hour Escalated-Contest between these two males. Up until this point the broken-tusked male (on the right) has had the help of an older male who has intervened each time he needed help. Now the older male has reconciled with the long-tusked competitor (on the left) and left and the broken-tusked male is on his own. Here he catches up with the longer tusked male. The longer-tusked male Advances-Toward him with Chin-Out and the broken-tusked male is forced to Back-Away. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Submissive (8)

Two teenage males walk through a family group in a 'pushy' manner. The one in front is wearing a collar. He Advances-Toward an adult female and Ear-Folds forcing her to Back-Away. (Amboseli, Kenya)