Jayalalithaa was visiting the elephant camp yesterday, and when she tried to feed a baby elephant fruits, the two-year-old calf pushed the Chief Minister, who was amused at first.
But the elephant then gave her a harder shove. She wasn't injured. Her security officials scrambled to take her away from the elephant.
Why did the baby elephant, which goes by the name Ranga, push the chief minister? Does it mean bad luck or good luck?
Ranga is named after Srirangam's presiding deity Sri Ranganathswamy. Ranga was probably annoyed by the jostling and constant camera flashes. It was also the baby's feeding time and the elephants never like to be disturbed during their meal, tamed or wild.
Elephants are known for their intelligence.
Self awareness is part of elephants vast capacity for thinking and intellect. They can recognise themselves in a mirror, something that is extremely rare in the animal kingdom.
Proportionally, the elephant's brain is the most sizeable at a mass of just over 5kg.
Elephants are capable of a range of emotions, including joy, playfulness, grief and mourning. They can learn new facts and behaviours, mimic sounds that they hear, self-medicate, play with a sense of humour, perform artistic activities, use tools and display compassion and self-awareness.
The superior level of intelligence is due to the structure of their brain. Their neocortex is highly convoluted, as it is in humans, apes and some dolphins. This is generally accepted to be an indication of complex intelligence. The cortex is thick and comprises many neurons.
Like humans, the elephants are not born with survival instincts, but needs to learn these during infancy and adolescence. The brain is designed to accomplish this sort of life skills.
Elephants' capacity for memory and emotions is remarkable and this is due to the well-developed hippocampus. This is also the area responsible for emotional flashbacks and for this reason elephants experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Their intelligence is manifested in the ability of self-medication. When a pregnant mother is due to give birth, she chews the leaves of the tree from the Boraginaceae family to induce labour.
Elephants are also able to use tools or implements to accomplish a task they cannot perform on their own. They use sticks to scratch their backs when their trunk can not reach and have been known to drop rocks on electric fences to damage them.
One hopes that Jayalalithaa is not angry with such an intelligent creature and confronts Ranga when it becomes a responsible adult.