World Record-Setting Elephants!
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 400 • f 5.6 • 1/1000 sec
Have you ever seen an elephant play a harmonica? How about paint? The elephants at Maesa Elephant Camp are known the world over for their artistic talent. In 2005, a team of eight elephants spent six hours painting a 2.4 x 12 meter (8 x 39 feet) mural that landed them in the Guinness Book of World Records – twice! The painting, “Cold Wind, Swirling Mist, Charming Lanna I” was sold for 1.5 million baht ($39K). When I visited the camp, I got to see them paint smaller pictures. Each elephant had its own style. Some painted flowers or landscapes, some did abstract art, and one painted a self-portrait! Several seemed more talented that some human artists! 😉
During the show, the elephants also played soccer, buzzed on harmonicas, and twirled hula hoops. They demonstrated trust with their mahouts (trainers) by carefully stepping over them as they lay on the ground. There was a dart-throwing competition, relay races, and a group that showed off their strength by building a wall with logs. It was a great experience! Then it was time for rides. Each elephant could carry up to three people including the mahout, who rode on the elephant’s head. A bench-like seat was tied on the elephant’s back for the rest of us to ride in. This made the ride very bumpy, as the bench shifted a lot. The elephants also move very slowly though, so there was time for us to react to each bump. Our elephant was very well-behaved, and it let our mahout climb on and off to take pictures and buy treats to feed it.
If I was an elephant, I would love a cushy job like this! 😀
Have you ever seen an animal do something almost human like painting?