Final Farewell Of The Herd: 300 Elephants Gather To Pay Last Respects To Their Leader After He Is Killed By A Rival, And Even Caress His Corpse To Say Goodbye

This is the heartbreaking moment a herd of elephants gathered to pay their last respects to their dead leader.

Footage shows the animals surrounding the carcass on the banks of a lake near Anuradhapura, close to the Kalawewa reserve in Sri Lanka.

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Some of the elephants use their trunks to caress the fallen giant, which had been killed by a rival.

Heartbreaking footage shows the moment a herd of elephants paid its last respects to its dead leader

The video shows the animals gathering around the carcass on the banks of a lake near Anuradhapura, close to the Kalawewa reserve in Sri Lanka

final-farewell-of-the-herd-300-elephants-gather-to-pay-last-respects-to-their-leader-after-he-is-killed-by-a-rival-and-even-caress-his-corpse-to-say-goodbye-1

The extraordinary sight proved a draw for locals who flocked to the scene to take pictures and video.

A clip of the incident shows around ten elephants surrounding their dead leader. But some reports suggested as many as 300 gathered nearby.

Researchers have found that elephants, like humans, grieve for the dead by frequently visiting their graves, ‘kissing’ their bodies with their trunks and rocking to and fro with grief.

final-farewell-of-the-herd-300-elephants-gather-to-pay-last-respects-to-their-leader-after-he-is-killed-by-a-rival-and-even-caress-his-corpse-to-say-goodbye-2

Some of the elephants use their trunks to caress the fallen giant, which had been killed by a rival

Researchers have found that elephants, like humans, grieve for the dead by frequently visiting their graves, ‘kissing’ their bodies with their trunks, and rocking to and fro with grief

But while humans usually reserve their grief for friends and family, elephants mourn over the death of the loosest acquaintance, an Oxford University study found in 2006.

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The creatures also show compassion towards the sick and dying, trying to nurse them back to health, the study found.

By JULIAN ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE

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