Adapted excerpt from Safina’s upcoming book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, in stores July 14, 2015.
(CNN) Four mother elephants are keeping their rotund babies in the shade of their bodies as they lead them across a sweet-smelling grassland under an already-hot early equatorial sun. Striding with deliberate purpose as though keeping an appointment, the mothers are nodding toward a wide wet marsh. They stop at water’s edge; it’s difficult to nurse while belly-deep in marsh sedges and water, so before plunging in for the morning, they fill up their youngsters. Who knew? The mothers knew.