Cows usually have one calf at a time; twins are rare. Once adults reach about 50 years of age, they experience changes that can be likened to the human experience of menopause.
Mature bulls travel vast areas searching for herds of females with whom they mate (female willing). This keeps the gene pool varied and strong as direct interbreeding ties are reduced and because the female will choose the best bull. Bulls travel in bands that can vary in number, ranging anywhere between 2 and 30 bulls. Females also travel, but cover less distance than their male counterparts. Females are attracted to certain bulls and usually opt for the bigger, stronger and older bulls as their mates. This provides, to some extent, insurance that their young will also be big, healthy and strong, able to survive illness or injury.
In their old age, elephants suffer from the same diseases and ailments that humans frequently experience. Pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases are the most common of the age-related illnesses. Other common ailments include arthritis and gout, causing their joints to swell and ache.
As research into the lives and development of elephants continues, it is increasingly evident that these animals are closer to the human being than we could have imagined. Their intuition and mutual understanding sets these magnificent animals apart as being supremely intelligent, sympathetic, and nurturing.