Solidarity between species what it consists of and examples

Sherman Hoover

The solidarity between species It is the helpful and cooperative behavior that some animals present when faced with an extreme situation. These behaviors can be oriented to defense, search for food, location of lost limbs, protection, among others..

This behavior can occur between members of the same species or between different species. An example of this is among zebras and antelopes, which naturally graze together in the same place. If a zebra visualizes a predator within the area, it immediately emits loud bellows, warning the antelope of danger..


In solidarity, the particular interests of the animal are, on several occasions, subject to the need of the species.

Within the scope of solidarity, the human being plays a very important role. Currently, several currents of environmental thought believe that some animals could have, like man, the capacity for sentience.

This capacity refers to the fact that these living beings could have experiences, which could affect the human being in a negative or positive way. This point of view is supported by biocentrism.

This environmentalist position, originated in 1970, maintains that every living being deserves to be morally respected, thus claiming the value of life..

Article index

  • 1 What is solidarity between species?
    • 1.1 Investigations
  • 2 Solidarity between man and animal
  • 3 Examples
    • 3.1 The common vampire
    • 3.2 Penguins in Antarctica
    • 3.3 North American Armadillo
    • 3.4 Chimpanzees
    • 3.5 Elephants
    • 3.6 The dolphins
    • 3.7 Meerkats
    • 3.8 Rodents
  • 4 References

What is solidarity between species?

When a cub loses its mother, it is very likely that another female in the group will adopt it as her calf. In this situation, the mature female would be acting in solidarity under an epimeletic type of motivation, one of the most profound behaviors in animals, especially in the group of mammals..

Possibly when the mother recognizes some signs of helplessness, sobbing and sadness in the young, she responds with care and protection behaviors. This can also occur between different species, as is the case when a female dog suckles a cat..


Solidarity between species may be based on the fact that the animals might be able to feel the pain of the other animal. The Dutch researcher Frans de Waal affirms that some animals, especially mammals, have the ability to put themselves in the place of the other.

According to the researcher, a specialist in primatology and ethology, some species could understand the feelings of other animals. This would lead them to assume certain behaviors that would be aimed at trying to remedy the situation that the partner is experiencing.

Another researcher supports Frans de Waal's position. This is Jaak Panksepp, specialist in Animal Welfare Science and professor at Washington State University. He maintains that despair, joy and love are elemental emotions that have helped in the survival of the species.

In this way, this Estonian scientist supports the idea that animals can have affective experiences. This could encourage that, in certain situations, the animal can assume a behavior of solidarity and empathy with the other animal, regardless of whether it is of the same species or not..

The identified emotions could be related to fear, danger or sadness. Frequently, this ability to understand the emotions of the other is present in dolphins, chimpanzees and elephants, among others.

Solidarity between man and animal

During the history of the human being, the relationship with animals has lacked, on many occasions, solidarity. Man has hunted and extinguished numerous species, nothing could be further from a true ecological conscience that values ​​the life of every being that inhabits the planet.

However, in recent decades the efforts of organizations have increased to promote human sensitivity and that their behavior is empathic with the animal species.

The man could take actions in favor of having solidary behaviors with the other species of living beings. For this, it would be ideal if they are in harmony with some of the following environmental principles:

  • Ecological collaboration. It implies understanding and working harmoniously with the different natural elements.
  • Preservation of wildlife and biodiversity. Every species has the right to life.
  • Sustaining change of the natural environment. If there is a need to modify the environment, it should be done with the procedures that cause the least possible damage to the beings that live in that habitat.


The common vampire

This animal mainly feeds on blood. In the event that vampire bats do not obtain blood for 2 days, they could die. Within the colony of this species it is difficult for this to happen, since they support each other.

Vampires are generous animals of their kind, helping those who did not leave the colony to eat or those who did not find their food. They, especially the females of the species, vomit some of the blood they ingested, sharing it with those who need it..

Penguins in Antarctica

In that continent there is a penguin that emits sounds during the long nights. These song-like vocalizations prevent baby seals from feeling alone.

North American Armadillo

This animal helps, during most of the summer, to cross the forest to the blind elk, to the sick or that have some handicap. In addition, the armadillo can dig long fire-break paths, which could stop fires that occur in the forest..


These animals usually adopt as their own offspring of the same species that are orphaned. In this way they prevent them from being consumed by predators.

The elephants

These animals have a high degree of sensitivity. When one of the group members dies, the rest of the herd surrounds the corpse, thus preventing scavengers from eating it..

When a young elephant gets stuck in a mud puddle, the other elephants help him. If the calf has problems crossing the river, they push it with their body, grab it with their trunk or place their body as support for the young to get out of the river.

The Dolphins

Dolphins and cetaceans work together to rescue a member of their group or of a different species, who is in distress. They do this by pushing them to the surface of the sea, so that they can breathe.


These animals are very affectionate, being able to take care of the young of others in the group. They assume surveillance behaviors of the entire group, while the rest hunt or take care of the young. In this way, in their social group the weak are protected.

The mouses

The rodents that are used for research have shown solidarity with their companions. In some experiments with rats it was shown that these animals repeatedly released a companion who was locked up.

In this case, there is no other bond other than the coexistence achieved during the time shared in the laboratory..


  1. Dustin R. Rubenstein (2010). Cooperation, Conflict, and the Evolution of Complex Animal Societies. Department of Ecology, Evolution and, Environmental Biology, Columbia University. Knowledge Project. Recovered from
  2. Catherine E. Amiot, Brock Bastian (2017). Solidarity with Animals: Assessing a Relevant Dimension of Social Identification with Animals. Plos One. Recovered from
  3. Alberto Barbieri (2016). Does altruism exist in the animal world? Natural. Recovered
  4. NCYT Amazing (2018). The altruism of animals. Recovered from
  5. Animal Ethics (2018). The relevance of sentience: animal ethics versus speciesist and environmental ethics. Recovered from

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