In mildly amusing CCTV footage from 13 November in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, a group of elephants is seen entering a residential locality late at night. At first, one elephant is seen, while a couple of stray dogs scatter at the sight of the large animal.
The lone elephant streaks across the screen, and is shortly followed by small herd, including a baby elephant. The video shows them walk purposefully down the same route as the first one, in a village named Periyanaickenpalayam.
Social media users were quick to change the narrative, insisting that it is not the elephants who have entered human living space, but humans who have taken over the elephants’ habitat.
Elephants are known not only to be extremely intelligent, but also emotionally sensitive. They have been known to offer help to, and empathise with, other animals in distress (including humans), feel pain when separated from their family, mourn one another’s deaths and have distinct personalities.
Here are some videos of elephants’ intelligence being tested, and of them interacting with humans.