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Personality and behavioral changes in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) following the death of herd membersElephants are highly social beings with complex individual personalities. We know that elephants have a general interest in death, investigating carcasses, not just limited to kin; however, research does not explore in depth whether individuals change their behavior or personality following traumatic events, such as the death of a conspecific. Within a captive herd of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) housed at Chester Zoo, UK, we measured social behavior and proximity and personality using the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, and found age-related and relationship-related changes in both behavior and personality following the deaths of herd members. Overall, the herd spent less time socializing and engaging in affiliative behaviors following the death of the adult female when compared to baseline data, yet spent more time engaging in these behaviors after the death of two calves. The death of the central female had a dramatic impact on her infant calf, resulting in increasingly withdrawn behavior, yet had the opposite effect on her adult daughter, who subsequently established a more integrated role within the herd. Emotional Stability fell in the motherless calf but rose in an adult female, who had lost her adult daughter, but had a new calf to care for. We suggest that the greater impact on the behavior and personality of surviving herd members following the deaths of calves, compared to an adult member, attests to the significance of the unifying role played by calves within an elephant herd.
The philosophical language of death and powerThis article is concerned with understanding the relationship of philosophical languages of death with the social philosophy of Michel Foucault. Foucault’s theoretical tools ‘make sense’ of languages of death in institutions such as care homes. While our responses to death and dying would seem to be very personal and therefore individually determined, they are, in fact, greatly influenced by the beliefs of individuals and “experts” who work in institutions providing care. Therefore, this article not only examines the limitations of bio-medicalized languages of death and dying, but importantly emphasises the importance of Foucault’s conceptual tools to methodologically interrogate how death is managed in institutional care.
The social philosophical dimensions of hospice careHospice care is a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs (Powell 2014). The concept of hospice has been evolving since the 11th century. Then, and for centuries thereafter, hospices were places of hospitality for the sick, wounded, or dying, as well as those for travellers and pilgrims (Dossey 1999). The modern concept of hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill given in such institutions as hospitals or nursing homes, but also care provided to those who would rather spend their last months and days of life in their own homes (McCue and Thompson 2006).