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: Affiliative (1)

A 1 year old female has moved closer to Pat Derby's 1 year old male and begins feeding on a bush right next to where he is feeding. He pauses in his attempt to dislodge a sapling and pushes her away. Afterwards she reaches her trunk to his mouth, Trunk-to-Mouth, as if in a Conciliatory gesture. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (2)

Two males have been engaged in a bout of Sparring. During a pause they stand together, the larger male behind. The larger male Pushes the smaller male causing his legs to buckle slightly. Then he uses his trunk to touch him on his genitals, Trunk-to-Genitals, in what appears to be a Conciliatory gesture. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (3)

Little E gets too close to Grumpy Grandma, f0412, and she Kick-Back and Little E Roars, Lorato reaches out to him, Trunk-to-Mouth. f0412 Kick-Back again, he Roars again, and then Grumpy Grandma Tusks him and he Roars. As part of the Tusking movement she curls her trunk and touches him in a gentle Conciliatory way and seems to direct him straight toward his mother (Shepherding).

Mama Little mother reaches out with her trunk and directs him to her breast (Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast) and he immediately Suckles. She again Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast. When f0412 Tusks Little E, allomother Lorato scoots around the front and then Back-Toward Grumpy Grandma to stand next to Mama Little E such that Little E is protected in between them. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (4)

Little E is 6 days old. Latino is feeding next to Mama Little E and Little E wanders over and begins sniffing around her back end. She Kicks-Back almost knocking him over. Immediately, as this is happening, Latino's son, an 18 month old comes in with his ears forward in an aggressive posture Pushing Little E. He clearly didn't want him near his mother. A fool for punishment, Little E tries again and the 18 month old Pushes him again. Then he reaches out Trunk-to-Genitals in a Conciliatory gesture. We can't tell if there are any vocalizations due to the wind. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (5)

The clip starts we see V-Notch Back-Towards Grumpy Grandma, f0412, who is feeding on a bush. It appears that we have missed a bit of behavior and we are guessing that Grumpy Grandma Pushed Vi-Notch away. The second section the end of a Head-Swipe - V-Notch backed off but immediately tried came back and reached her trunk to her mother (Trunk-to-Mouth) in a Conciliatory gesture.

Then after some time Grumpy-Grandma Head-Swings gently at her for a 3rd time but V-Notch is persistent and comes right back in and again reaches her trunk to her mother's mouth in a Trunk-to-Mouth as if in a gesture of Conciliation. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (6)

Grumpy Grandma (f0412) is browsing on a bush. Her adolescent daughter V-Notch reaches Trunk-to-Mouth to her mother in a Conciliatory gesture to solicit sharing food. Grumpy Grandma responds by Tusking her away. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (7)

This is a short section of a close to three hour Escalated-Contest in which an older male intervenes to help the male with the broken tusks at least 5 times. 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. 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. The longer-tusked male also Retreats-From, but then stops a few steps away in an expectant sort of way. The older male reaches Trunk-to-Genitals in what I believe is a Conciliatory gesture. The longer-tusked male Tail-Swats him and the older male touches his tail. The older male Walks-Away and that is the last time he intervenes in this Escalated-Contest. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (8)

Marshmallow of the MB family has a new infant who is asleep on the ground. She has the help of two allo-mothers in looking after it. A young male has just arrived and is Kicking the infant - in an effort to get it out of the way. The allomother at the back is concerned and we see her reach to the infant with her trunk. Then she comes rapidly to the front of the group and Backs-Toward the infant in an effort to place herself between the two. The second allo-mother seems to feel she was too close and Pushed her gently away and immediately gives her a Trunk-to-Genitals touch in a Conciliatory gesture. A minute later, the second allo-mother Ear-Brushes her as if in a second Conciliatory gesture. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (9)

This clip takes place after Qadija Mates and there is a Mating-Pandemonium, during which Qoral's infant gets knocked over. After much comforting he begins to Suckle with audible sucking sounds. The females are still giving Coo- and other Rumbles. Qaskazi, who inadvertently knocked the infant over Backs-Toward Qoral and Kicks-Back and Tail-Swats trying to get her attention or seemingly an appeasement or conciliatory gesture. Qoral eventually tires of it touches her Trunk-to-Genitals - also a conciliatory gesture and then tries to Grasp-Tail. (Amboseli, Kenya)