An Indian elephant walked over 15 miles so she could say her final goodbye to her rider and best friend of 25 years at his funeral.
The elephant, named Brahmadathan, made the two-hour journey with the rider’s son in a heartbreaking quest to pay her respects.
Kunnakkad Damodaran Nair, known as Omanchetan, rode and trained elephants for nearly six decades but had a special bond with Brahmadathan that reportedly made local residents “envious”.
The incredible moment when Brahmadathan arrived for the funeral was captured on camera.
As Omanchetan’s body lay outside his home, the huge elephant stands alongside mourners before touching her rider, or mahout’s, body in a moment of thoughtfulness.
Mahout’s friends and family cry out with emotion as Brahmadathan tries to lift him by shaking her trunk.
Omanchetan, 74, passed away last week at his home in Kerala, South India. According to those that knew him, he and Brahmadathan would spend every single day together and had a deep connection.
Rajesh, 50, said: “When Brahmadathan came to the funeral I couldn’t bear it.
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“They loved each other like anything. His last wish was to see Brahmadathan.
“Everyone was envious of their bond.
“My father had been a mahout and trainer for nearly six decades and partook in various festivals to pull crowds.”
Elephants are famed for visiting the remains of dead family members, stroking their bones, or at times rocking back and forth in what resembles a vigil.
Herds of elephants have been captured on film appearing to mourn the loss of a dead member for many days, in an act that has similar tones to a human’s sense of loss.
Elephants are thought to be one of the cleverest creatures on Earth but face extinction due to poachers killing them for their ivory tusks.