ELEPHANTastic! (1) – Working Elephants
Hello and welcome to a new week on Daily Dose of Art!
This week I bring you something close to my 30 month old son’s heart –elephants. I am always delighted when he sees an elephant on TV, in his books or at the zoo, because he smiles and screams out — “Elephane!”, sometimes he says “Elephine!” And I totally agree with him –what fine creatures these pachyderms are. So this week we look into the curious lives of elephants in a special feature called “ELEPHANTastic!”
Today we focus on the world of “Working Elephants”.
The Working Elephants of Thailand
A Little About Thailand’s Working Elephants
A working elephant has a career of about fifty years, after five years of training. Thai law has a mandatory retirement age for a working elephant of 61 years and the retirees must be returned to the wild where they live an average twenty more years.
Riding an elephant is the preferred mode of transportation through the rain forest. They are agile, capable of speeds just over 25 mph, and cause minimum damage to the forest and ground. Their large, soft feet distribute their weight so effectively that they exert less weight per square inch of foot than a deer.
Most logging is now banned in Thailand putting many elephants, and their trainers (mahouts) out of work.
Working Elephant Demonstration
at the Singapore Zoo
Photography by Michael Wortman
Elephants Working for a Cause
Red Cross Elephants
With their trunks holding donation baskets,
elephants walk through Bangkok, Thailand,
as part of the Red Cross appeal
for victims of the Haiti earthquake