There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that animals cry tears as a result of emotions. However, elephants have been observed by their handlers and, in one case, their rescuers, crying tears as a result of stress and sorrow.
After years of abuse in captivity, an elephant reportedly cried tears of relief and astonishment. In another case, an elephant calf at an animal reserve was observed crying inconsolably for hours after being rejected by its mother.
Despite these occurrences, scientists have yet to show that animals have the social nature or the brain function necessary to process emotions. While animals may appear to show distress and even tears, it is unclear whether they are expressing an actual emotion while doing so.