An elephant vocalising or moving its body, legs, ears or trunk in a manner that appears to be intended to show, guide, herd or escort another elephant(s) or that appears to act as a ‘heads-up’ or to galvanise and guide the action, timing and direction of others in the group. This behavior is primarily observed among adult females in Affiliative, Coalition Building, Attacking & Mobbing,  Movement Space & Leadership, Calf Reassurance & Protection and Calf Nourishment & Weaning contexts and among adolescent and juvenile females in Calf Reassurance & Protection and Calf Nourishment & Weaning contexts.

References: Bates et al 2008. (Full reference list)

This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Coo-Rumble, Ear-Flap-Slide, Ear-Slap, Lets-Go-Rumble, Look-Back, Periscope-Trunk, Purposeful-Walk, Pushing, Trunk-Sweep, Trunk-to-Body, Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast, Trunk-to-Face, Trunk-to-Genitals, Trunk-to-Mouth, Trunk-Toward, Walk-Wait and occurs in the following context(s): Affiliative, Calf Nourishment & Weaning, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Coalition Building, Movement, Space & Leadership


Context: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (1)

Little E is 3 days old and is standing under his mother's belly. Little E is only 2 days old. He is having a difficult time reaching his mother's breast, but eventually manages to Suckle briefly as his mother is browsing. Then he loses contact and begins searching again and is having difficulty finding the teat. She reaches her trunk back Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast, as if pointing and Guiding him to her breast, but he fails to Suckle. She tries again this time Guiding him by actually lifting his head to her breast whereupon he Suckles.

Grumpy Grandma f0412 arrives and Ear-Brushes and Social-Rubs against Mama Little E's rump and flank and then stands next to them for a moment before walking on. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (2)

Little E is 6 days old and trying to Suckle. Mama Little E is seen to Sniff-Toward (back) presumably as she notices the approach of Grumpy Grandma behind her. She reaches back her Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast x 2, the second time actually appearing to use her trunk to lift Little E's mouth Guiding him to the right location.

As Little E seems to finally Suckle Grumpy Grandma arrives and Social-Rubs against Mama Little E's rump and flank, disturbing Little E. Grumpy Grandma walks on and Mama Little E continues to stand as Little E struggles to suckle with his mother not in the right posture. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (3)

Matriarch f0116 is with her 3 year old calf. She is browsing and her calf is following what she is eating and searching in same area (Social-Learning). The calf reaches to her mouth to Solicit-Food. f0116 then extracts another trunkful and drops a piece for the calf - it would seem purposefully in an act of Food-Sharing. Then she touches the ground where it is x 2, as if showing calf where it is in a possible example of Pointing - Guiding her calf to the stick with her trunk. The calf picks it up and eats it and then uses same maneuver that her mother had used to browse (Social-Learning). (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Calf Nourishment & Weaning (4)

Little E is 5 days old and is Suckling from his mother, Mama Little E. She is browsing but has adopted a Suckle-Stance with her foreleg forward to give him access to her breast. Little E reaches up to Suckle and she pauses in her feeding to reach back to touch him Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast.

Notice how she seems to use her trunk to stroke up under his mouth as if lifting his mouth back to her breast (Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast/Guiding) and then Little E begins to Suckle again. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)