Watch Israel's Elephants Hear Rocket Sirens, Heartbreakingly Rush To Protect Their Young — VIDEO
Each time sirens blare in Tel Aviv, Israeli citizens scramble for cover. Meanwhile, the animals in the Ramat Gan safari park have nowhere to seek shelter. Heartbreakingly, according to a report in Haaretz, a group of elephants in a Tel Aviv zoo instinctively protect their young when the sirens sound.
Guy Kfir, manager of the petting zoo, told Haaretz he was walking by the elephant enclosure Wednesday when the alarms went off. Immediately, the adult elephants trumpeted a warning, encircling the youngest elephants to shield them from some unknown danger. Kfir caught the whole thing on video, which has subsequently made the entire Internet shed a collective tear. (OK, a lot of tears.) The sirens, part of Israel's Pillar of Defense, are designed to warn citizens of incoming rocket attacks.
Sagit Horowitz, a spokesperson for the zoo, told Haaretz that the chimps also reacted to the sirens, calling out from the night house. Plus, the zoo's lions paused their evening meal and froze just seconds before the siren sounded. Horowitz speculated that the lions could've sensed the sound before humans did; the lions' heightened hearing probably perceived the sirens milliseconds before it reached human hearing.
It's eerie how much animals can sense. But the elephants and the rest of the zoo animals, of course, don't understand the danger the siren precludes. The instinct is a touching response from the animals caught in the crossfire between Israel and Palestine, and a sobering reminder of the way that the crisis affects every form of life.
The family of Asian elephants is six members strong: Motek, the dominant male; Varda the dominant female, La Petite, La Belle, year old Latangi and 10-month old Lalana. After hearing the sirens, the adults trumpeted to La Petite, who they said is the social outcast of the group, to draw her from the corner of the enclosure. After she joined the pack, the circled to protect the calves, Latangi and Lalana.
Latangi, the elder of the two calves, was born last August. Lalana was born to La Petite, 28, that October. The calves' births were celebrated around the world, due to the rarity of Asian elephants.
Image: YouTube/ שגית הורוביץ