An act of conciliation following an act of escalated aggression (e.g. Pushing, Tusking) between two elephants, often members of a family. Conciliation may also include acts of appeasement and be observed prior to an aggressive act. Conciliatory behavior typically includes Trunk-to-Mouth or Trunk-to-Genitals and may be initiated either by the aggressor, if he or she has done something “unkind” or by the transgressor, who may be doing something to annoy another, e.g. stealing or begging for food.

In some cases the reconciling elephant is a third party, typically the matriarch or a close adult associate of the aggrieved individual. In such instances the reconciling elephant approaches those in conflict from the side and, while standing head-to-head, and while Rumbling, Head-Raising and Ear-Lifting, may reach Trunk-to-Mouth or Trunk-to-Genitals towards one or both of the conflicting elephants.

References: Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011 [Reconciliation]. (Full reference list)

This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Ear-Lifting, Head-Raising, Trunk-to-Genitals, Trunk-to-Mouth and occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative, Social Play


Context: Social Play (1)

There are 3 adolescent/juvenile males. The male on the left with the broken leg, is gm0009. He is the oldest and was a bystander while the other two were Sparring. We don't see what happens prior to this scene, but the smallest male, facing us, appears to become angry and overly aggressive, attacking the male with his back to us, Ramming into him and forcing him back. It seems as if the male with his back to us may have done something to deserve the anger.

Then gm0009 seems to intervene and the two pause as if thinking better of the game. The male with his back to us Touch-Self. In what appears to be an act of Conciliation gm0009 touches the smallest male, who seems to Rump-Present and gm0009 leans into him and touch him Trunk-to-Genitals.

The next scene shows the little aggressor, in the middle and the other two in a Reach-Over. Then both step back, gm0009 Trunk-Sucks and the other male Touches-Self again. It is hard to see whether gm0009 might have touched the little male's genitals again. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Social Play (2)

Two males are Sparring - gm0009 with a broken leg is on the right and a slightly smaller male on the left. Gm0009 is forced back but then Pushes back against the other male. It gets rough and then gm0009 turns and Rump-Present and Tail-Swats allowing the smaller male to touch him Trunk-to-Genitals. The Trunk-to-Genitals seems to be a Conciliatory gesture. After this the younger male backs up and Kneel-Down and engages in Tusk-Ground. The two face one another while he is on his knees.

This behavior is not uncommon when there are differing sizes or abilities between two Sparring partners as if the more competent wants to make himself less threatening to the broken-legged male. This is a kind of Helping behavior. Thereafter they continue the game. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)