The matriarch knows everything the herd needs to know to survive in the wild. She guides the herd. Elephants support each other, helping family members if injured or sick. They comfort each other just as we would.
There are no bulls (male elephants) in the herds, only cows (females). The male calves stay with the herd until he is about 12 years old. After that time, he lives with other bulls or on his own. The bulls come back around when it's time to mate.
Another interesting thing about the elephant is that they mourn the death of their relatives. They place grass, dirt or branches over the body. They stay with the body for several days.
Elephant Families by Arthur Dorros, Library call number J 599.61 DORR