Elephants are highly intelligent creatures – their brains weigh between 4kg (8lb) and 5kg (11lb) - the largest of any land animal. Perhaps the most enticing quality of the elephant is its undeniable similarity to humans. Elephants experience many of the same emotions as people do. Elephants are capable of self-awareness, sadness, joy, love, jealousy, fury, grief, compassion and distress. They also form with close bonds with family members, communicate with one another, can live for up to 70 years and they care for their young in much the same way as we do.

Social behavior in elephants is characterized by their closeness and intimacy. Elephants live in a structured social order. The females spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. These groups are led by the eldest female, or matriarch. Adult males, on the other hand, live mostly solitary lives.  

Most immediate family groups range from five to fifteen adults, as well as a number of immature males and females. They remain very aware of which local herds are relatives and which are not. Elephants make use of all of their senses to communicate. Communicating amongst the group is very important so that they can keep track of one another, warn others of danger and communicate about various aspects of elephant life. Elephants can communicate over long distances by producing and receiving low-frequency rumbling sounds which can travel in the air and through the ground for many kilometres. This sound can be felt by the sensitive skin of an elephant's feet and trunk, which pick up the resonant vibrations much as the flat skin on the head of a drum. To listen attentively, every member of the herd will lift one foreleg from the ground, and face the source of the sound, or often lay its trunk on the ground. The lifting presumably increases the ground contact and sensitivity of the remaining legs.

Elephants are herbivorous creatures that can weigh up to 7 000kg (15 432lb) and have a shoulder height of 3-4 metres. Their gestation period is 22 months – the longest of any land animal. African elephant calves normally weigh about 91kg (200lb) at birth and they live between for between 50 and 70 years.