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Elephant paints portraits, and flora- amazing video!

April 7, 2008

Remarkable video from Thailand of elephants painting portraits and beautiful floral scenes. Many of the elephants at this facility were rescued from abusive owners, their paintings are sold to provide income to care for for these majestic animals. Although i’m sure some training is involved, to see such a large creature be so delicate and to see the wonderful dexterity of their trunks in action is truly a sight to be remembered.

Elephants are one of the smartest species on this planet, they are self-aware, aware of mortality, have an effective and diverse language with regional dialects, they exhibit emotions, they have intricate family and social structures and social rituals and rites, such as a funeral rituals.

From a N.Y. Times Sunday Magazine article:

“Elephants, when left to their own devices, are profoundly social creatures.”
“When an elephant dies, its family members engage in intense mourning and burial rituals, conducting weeklong vigils over the body, carefully covering it with earth and brush, revisiting the bones for years afterward, caressing the bones with their trunks, often taking turns rubbing their trunks along the teeth of a skull’s lower jaw, the way living elephants do in greeting. If harm comes to a member of an elephant group, all the other elephants are aware of it. This sense of cohesion is further enforced by the elaborate communication system that elephants use. In close proximity they employ a range of vocalizations, from low-frequency rumbles to higher-pitched screams and trumpets, along with a variety of visual signals, from the waving of their trunks to subtle anglings of the head, body, feet and tail. When communicating over long distances — in order to pass along, for example, news about imminent threats, a sudden change of plans or, of the utmost importance to elephants, the death of a community member — they use patterns of subsonic vibrations that are felt as far as several miles away by exquisitely tuned sensors in the padding of their feet.”

How lucky we are to share the planet with such wonderful and intelligent animals. Under the Endangered Species Act, the African elephant is listed as a threatened species and the Asian elephant is listed as an endangered species. I hope our generation will help ensure the survival of these fellow Earthings by working today to protect their habitat and wild populations.

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