Elephants are not animals, they are capable of culture and even representative art. An Elephant was given a brush, canvas, and various paints and drew a picture of an Eelephant holding a flower in it's trunk. The lines were darker in certain areas representing shadows and the thickness of the trunk. The flower was green with red petals, and the leaves were shaped to look more natural. The trunk even had a curl where it grasped the flower. other works of art by elephants have shown perspective and shading. Elephant art is in some cases more advanced than early human cave paintings.
Elephants have also been known to mourn their dead, even showing rituals they preform every time they find bones of a dead loved one. This shows even more intelligence, and also self awareness and understanding of death. Elephants seem to be capable of deep emotions, unlike any other animal on Earth.
This is just a sample of what these creatures are capable of. There's no question now. Elephants are not animals any more, perhaps they never were and we just weren't paying attention. This is an intelligent species with a culture and traditions completely separate from mankind. I think Elephants may even have a language. Elephants have been proven to have incredible memory, so they wouldn't necessarily need any written language. The written word isn't even a very old invention, in fact we've only had it for a few thousand years. All Elephants would need would be a simple language of noises or body gestures. They may even have oral history and stories, we can't be sure.
If this is true, and it's very likely it is, poachers are not just illegal hunters but murderers. I believe we should look into this further and see how intelligent these creatures really are so we can learn to communicate and live with them. I can't fully express the awe I feel right now.
Next time you see an Elephant, remember what it really is.
Racob has spoken