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Shepherding

The word to Shepherd means to gather, guard, herd, lead, or drive as a shepherd. In reference to elephants Shepherding covers a variety of actions typically by juvenile or adult female that assist, protect, lift, guide, lead a baby. These actions may be accomplished with the body, feet, trunk, tusks or tail. It may also include waiting for or watching over or stepping in time with a baby. One may wish to further define Sheparding as, for example, Tail-Shepherding: using the tails to check for the presence/proximity of an elephant behind, or Trunk-Sheparding: an action by the trunk that gathers, assists, guides or retrieves 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 Sheparding. Note that just as a female may use her tusks to lift a sleeping baby or remove the birth sack of a newborn so may an elephant use its tusks to lift a sick, injured or dead elephant (88) There may be some confusion over the definitions of Caressing, Sheparding and Test-Mouth, Test-Genitals etc. To a large extent the differences are subtle and have to do with both the behavioral context and the relationship between the interacting individuals. Caressing is behavior within a family or bond group that is related to reinforcing bonds between individuals and may be associated with Ear-Lifting, Head-raising, or Social-Rubbing and is usually done while the partners are standing in parallel. Test-Mouth, Test-Temporal-Glands is meant to refer primarily casual meetings between male-male, female-male or female-female pairs. In these cases the pairs typically stand facing one another. These are casual acquaintances and may have more to do with individual identification or assessment. To distinguish between Caressing and Sheparding, the former is behavior related to greeting, reassuring or cooing over an infant or calf and the later related to protective, guiding or gathering motions.