Adult, adolescent or juvenile females gathering, guarding, herding, escorting, retrieving, leading, or driving, as a shepherd, another or other elephants. Shepherding covers a variety of actions that assists, protects, lifts, guides, or leads another elephant, primarily a calf. These actions may be accomplished with the body, head, feet, trunk, tusks or tail.
For example, a female may use a Tail-Swat to check for the presence/proximity of a calf behind it, or her trunk to gather, assist, guide or retrieve a calf back to safety. Attempting to lift a newborn or sleeping infant or calf to its feet by using the tusks, trunk or legs also falls under Shepherding. It may also include Waiting for or watching over or stepping in time with an infant.
There is considerable overlap between the terms Shepherding, Guiding and Helping, with Shepherding being the more general term. Specific behaviors in which elephants appear to be purposefully using their bodies or trunks to guide another elephant toward a specific action, as in Trunk-to-Breast, Trunk-Sweep, we have included under Guiding, whereas specific incidents in which an elephant purposefully assists an elephant who is in some way incapacitated or requires specific assistance are described under Helping.
Shepherding is primarily a female activity.
References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6; Lee 1987; Moss 1992: 131; Poole 1996: 137; Kahl & Armstrong 2000; Poole & Granli 2003; Bates et al 2008; Poole & Granli 2011; Goldenberg & Wittemyer 2018. (Full reference list)
This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: As-Touched-Rumble, Coo-Rumble, Foot-Nudge, Husky-Cry, Lifting, Look-Back, Pulling, Pushing, Retrieve, Tail-Swatting, Trunk-to-Body, Trunk-to-Face, Trunk-to-Genitals, Trunk-to-Mouth, Waiting, Walk-Wait and occurs in the following context(s): Birth, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Movement, Space & Leadership