An article in the New York Times a few years ago highlighted the rise in incidents of elephant attacks on humans and presented the theory that it was a case of elephants striking back at centuries of abuse at the hands of humans. Is this possible?
It would be very romantic to think that the elephants have had enough and are fighting back, and many will point to the fact that elephant attacks on humans have increased dramatically recently. However we have to take certain factors into account. Is it man's increasingly violent tendencies that are causing elephant to retaliate?
As a species we have failed miserably. Violence against our own kind, outside of war, is on the increase worldwide and with this violence comes a survival instinct that triggers a retaliatory nerve. Unfortunately this retaliation is against those weaker than us such as children and animals. Child and animal abuse incidents are rising daily and it seems that these behaviours are out of control.
Wildlife areas are shrinking as the human population grows thereby pushing the animals into ever smaller areas. Villages and agriculture expand in the increasing demand for food and land. Elephants become a problem in these areas as they raid crops and are persecuted for this. We have become a creature to be feared - more so than in the past - and the elephants are retaliating to this fear.
It is not so much that elephants of the world have formed a war committee and decided to fight back. It is more a case of the traumatized elephants in a particular area retaliating to persecution within that area.