The existence of a mass graveyard to which elephants go to die remains a myth. It is thought to be the retreat of old and dying elephants, so that they die away from the herd, not hindering the progress of those that remain behind. Even those explorers claiming to have stumbled across this mass burial site are never able to locate it again to prove their claims. This legendary place is said to lure dying elephants by a supernatural force, something that can not be explained by natural or physical laws. It is thought to be in the Saudi Arabian desert, but those who have searched for it have either returned unsuccessful, or have disappeared in their quests.
The attraction of the elephant graveyard is manifold. Greedy hunters and marketers dream of the piles of ivory that must lie amongst the huge skeletons in this graveyard. They fantasise about the size of the tusks of thousands and thousands of majestic beasts who have found their final resting place in these mythical grounds.
Others wish to rescue the explorers who have disappeared in their search for the graveyard, believing them to have been kept captive by the guardian(s) of the graveyard as punishment for seeking this sacred spot. There exists the belief that these guardians have even killed the explorers, and some wish to avenge their deaths. There is also the tale that the graveyard contains a book of spells and incantations that bear the solution to global warfare.
Those who have returned from a quest for the elephant graveyard tell tales of confusion. They have followed dying elephants for days on end, only to discover that the elephant, although terminal, has been leading them in circles to confuse them. This may account for the death and dehydration of many of the unsuccessful explorers.
There are some theories as to why this myth may have started. It is possible that large numbers of elephants may have died in the same area over a short period of time as a result of a massive food- or water shortage. Groups or herds of elephants may also have died as a result of a natural disaster, such as a flood in the area. Some groups have also been found where the tusks of every elephants are missing. This may indicate that hunters managed to round a large number of animals up and slaughter them in the same area in order to minimise the amount of travelling they would need to undertake to get a large amount of ivory. Yet another theory is that the strong winds that sweep the savannah plains may actually blow the dry bones into a common area, giving the impression that all of those elephants gathered in that place to die when, in fact, they could have been scattered over vast plains.
The lives, abilities and mannerisms of elephants hold such a fascination for humans. Indeed, even their deaths inspire years of research and exploration. There is a mystery about elephants that transcends scientific explanation, and a bond between them and humans that has continued, unexplained, for centuries.
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