Posts Tagged ‘Elephants’

Circus elephant escapes in Brandeburg

June 18, 2008

A circus elephant escaped from its pen in the German state of Brandenburg overnight, police in Neurippen said on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old animal seemed to feel at home with traditional German cuisine, taking time out of his journey through the town of Neustadt to test out potato plants in a local garden. A resident noticed the animal during its starchy snack and called the police.

Authorities had no trouble capturing the elephant, who returned to the big top without a fight.

Click here for the full article.

Animal welfare group says eBay auctions in US of suspect ivory increasing

June 6, 2008

An animal welfare group says eBay auctions in the U.S. of illegal or possibly illegal ivory are skyrocketing.

In a statement Friday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare says eBay affiliates in Germany, Australia, France and China have nearly eliminated illegal ivory trading on their sites. The watchdog group says, however, that sales had shifted to North America.

Click here for the full article.

Park in Uganda asked to tame wild animals

June 4, 2008

The Kasese district security committee has asked the management of the Elizabeth National Park to restrain wild animals from attacking neighbouring communities.

The resident district commissioner, Capt. James Mwesigye, recently said the committee had received several complaints from the population about stray animals were destroying their crops.

He identified elephants as the most notorious.

“When pastoralists graze in the park, they are arrested and prosecuted,” Mwesigye said. “But when elephants destroy crops, no compensation is offered. That is unfair.”

Click here for the full article.

When pets occupy a spiritual space

May 22, 2008

Anyone who has ever cared for a pet dog, neighbourhood cow, kitchen cat or horse at the riding club will verify French writer Anatole France’s statement that “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”.

The emotional bond between humans and animals is easily accepted. With its uncomplicated nature and unconditional love, an animal can expand the boundaries of the human heart. But are animals also deeply connected to the human soul? Like many philosophical systems, Hinduism gives animals prime of place.

One of its chief gods is elephant-headed and another is a monkey. Shiva and Vishnu have several animal incarnations. Anthropologically, animals were useful to humans; they were likely given the status of gods to impress their importance upon the general people. Moreover, since all creatures are considered manifestations of the same paramatma, animals necessarily gain a position of equality with human beings.

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Are zoos an anachronism from a time before the internet and Animal Planet?

May 21, 2008

Animal deaths or injuries at zoos often result in renewed debate about whether wild animals should be kept in captivity. Recently, the deaths of over 40 cownose stingrays at the Calgary Zoo and the death of a visitor at the San Francisco Zoo stirred up more questions on whether animals should be kept for public viewing.

While the institutions often tout their educational programs as one of the many reasons for people, and especially children, to visit, saying they can learn a great deal about animals from zoos, Rob Laidlaw, executive director of Zoocheck Canada, a national wild animal protection charity, disputes this argument.

“The menagerie-style zoo, like Toronto and Calgary, emerged in the 19th century in Paris and London and Berlin. This concept emerged at a time when there was no international travel, there was no internet, there was limited access to books for most people, there was no television, there was no Discovery Channel.

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The giant 6ft cow that is as big as a small elephant

May 20, 2008

His name is Chilli and he’s described as a gentle giant.

Which is just as well for his handler, Tara Nirula, pictured by his side.

His owners have contacted the Guinness Book of Records who are currently assessing his credentials and comparing them to other big bovines.

The black and white Friesian bullock weighs well over a ton and at the same height as a small elephant, casts a shadow over his cattle companions who are about 5ft.

Click here for the full article.

Animals as artists … seriously

May 8, 2008

Brittany wields her paintbrush with confidence, slapping it roughly against the canvas to produce streaks of green or smears of orange. With apparent pride, she steps back, inspects her work — and extends her trunk to receive a freshly loaded paintbrush.

Brittany, an African elephant, is doing her small part to pay her way at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Her artwork is sold at the zoo’s gift shop to raise funds.

This painting pachyderm is far from the only artistic animal in captivity. For years zoos and aquariums across the country have encouraged animals to paint as a way to keep the penned-up denizens mentally enriched. Typically, the paintings were discarded or set aside.

But officials have recently discovered that animal lovers are willing pay hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars for the creatures’ creations, prompting zoos across the country to study whether their animal artists might be an untapped source of revenue.

The Milwaukee zoo’s gift shop sells about 36 of Brittany’s paintings each year for $30 each.

“She really seems to enjoy painting — she likes creating new things,” elephant trainer Danielle Faucett said.

Click here for the full article.

The last mahouts

May 5, 2008

The mighty Asian elephant has featured large in Asian culture for centuries. This enormous beast, a perennial symbol of strength and power, has been tamed and trained to perform in a variety of roles in agriculture, royal ceremonies, circuses and even combat.

Specially trained elephants were also widely used throughout the sub-continent as executioners as recently as the early 20th century. Depending on the disposition of the prevailing ruler, the unfortunate beast would be ordered to either stomp on the prisoner or slowly pluck off his limbs

Throughout India, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and beyond, elephants are revered and even worshipped for their intelligence, usefulness and beauty.

They are perhaps best known for their use in heavy agricultural duties like logging and hauling loads. But times are changing and the role of the Asian elephant is shifting away from menial tasks and becoming restricted to ceremonial duties and tourist performances.

Click here for the full article.

Early Elephant ‘Was Amphibious’

April 21, 2008

The scientists were investigating the lifestyle of two early elephants (proboscideans) Moeritherium and Barytherium that lived in the Eocene period, over 37 million years ago. By analysing isotopes in tooth enamel from Moeritherium they were able to deduce that it was very likely a semi-aquatic mammal, spending its days in water eating freshwater plants.‘

We know from molecular data that modern elephants share a common ancestry with the sirenians – aquatic sea cows and dugongs,’ said Alexander Liu of Oxford’s Department of Earth Sciences, lead author of a report of the research published online in PNAS. ‘It suggests that elephants may have an ancestor which was amphibious in its mode of life and we wanted to know if Moeritherium or Barytherium was this semi-aquatic ancient relative. Unfortunately only fragments of the skeletons of these early elephants survive, so instead of looking at their bones we looked at the chemical composition of their teeth to determine what they ate and how they lived.’

Click here for the full article.

Presumed Extinct Javan Elephants May Have Been Found Again – In Borneo

April 18, 2008

The Borneo pygmy elephant may not be native to Borneo after all. Instead, the population could be the last survivors of the Javan elephant race – accidentally saved from extinction by the Sultan of Sulu centuries ago, a new publication suggests.

The origins of the pygmy elephants, found in a range extending from the north-east of the island into the Heart of Borneo, have long been shrouded in mystery. Their looks and behaviour differ from other Asian elephants and scientists have questioned why they never dispersed to other parts of the island.

But a new paper published supports a long-held local belief that the elephants were brought to Borneo centuries ago by the Sultan of Sulu, now in the Philippines, and later abandoned in the jungle. The Sulu elephants, in turn, are thought to have originated in Java.

Javan elephants became extinct some time in the period after Europeans arrived in South-East Asia. Elephants on Sulu, never considered native to the island, were hunted out in the 1800s.

Click here for the full article.

Animals take shape on the Underground

April 17, 2008

A hard-hitting public awareness campaign to help protect seals, whales and elephants is being run by The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Animals on the Underground.

The campaign will feature ads on 224 sites across the London Underground network from April 21 for two weeks. Members of the public are being asked to send a text message to help protect these threatened or endangered species.

Tens of thousands of endangered elephants continue to be threatened by the illegal ivory trade, over a quarter of a million seals are killed annually in Canada’s cruel and unsustainable seal hunt and whales are still being harpooned despite an international ban on commercial whaling.

“These posters will place a spotlight on the current threats to some of the world’s most iconic species – whales, elephants and seals,” said Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK. “This is a great opportunity to highlight to people across London that they can make a difference by taking action in support of IFAW’s campaigns to end this cruelty.”

Click here for the full article.

Manila zoo orders therapy for stressed-out animals

April 17, 2008

Sisi slowly browses through the yellow pages, looking not for a phone number but for peanuts and sunflower seeds hidden in the directory.

Mali plays with a block of ice containing apples and oranges, crushing it with her feet to get at the fruit.

Sisi, a 23-year-old orangutan, and Mali, a 33-year-old elephant, are two of a number of mammals and birds undergoing behavioral therapy at Manila Zoo as part of a program to combat the stress and boredom of living in captivity.

The program is Manila’s answer to criticism that conditions at its 49-year-old zoo, among the oldest in Asia, are dismal — so dismal that other zoos refuse to send their animals there.

Click here for the full article.

Kenya: Wild Animals Compete With Humans for Scarce Water Resources

April 17, 2008

Ahmed Diriye had taken his goats to a stream in Mogogashe near the northern Kenyan town of Garissa and was waiting for them to drink when he was attacked by baboons.

“I killed a baboon after they tried to force me from the ‘lagadera’ [stream in Somali],” he said, holding out his bandaged arm. “They were thirsty and wanted water just like my goats. The well is the only one with water.”

At another well, four girls abandoned their water containers after thirsty baboons attacked them. The next day, five goats were killed by the creatures while two herders sustained serious injuries following an attack by a lion.

A month after the rains were expected to start, northern Kenya is still gripped by drought conditions. Water pans, boreholes and wells have all dried up, creating problems for the pastoralist communities of the region.

Click here for the full article.

Game reserve restocked with 150+ animals in bid to attract more tourists.

April 15, 2008

A game reserve is set to be restocked with at least 150 animals of three different species in a bid to attract more tourists.

The animals will be moved to Shimba Hills National Reserve, from where close to 400 elephants were transferred to Tsavo East National Park.

The restocking of the game park, expected to begin in June, will lead to the rebranding of the reserve, a Kenya Wildlife Service deputy director, Mr Philip Mwakio, announced.

He said all the logistics for the movement of the animals had been completed .

“KWS will move 50 giraffes from the crowded Tsavo Park to the spacious Shimba Hills Reserve, which has only two giraffes at the moment,” Mr Mwakio said, adding that the move was aimed at attracting more tourists to the reserve.

Also to be moved, according to Mr Mwakio, are 100 impala and gazelles. He said that KWS would ensure that the animals were moved in families to maintain their social bonds.

Click here for the full article.

Animals and Us, Not So Far Apart

April 14, 2008

Ever since Galileo argued that the sun was the center of the solar system, the idea of Earth as the universal hub has been the classic example of scientific arrogance. It’s certainly a foolproof example of the way humans consider themselves the rule by which everything else should be measured, but when we use it, there’s a sense that we don’t make that kind of mistake anymore. Yet even today scientists are swayed by the notion that humans stand at the center of the biological universe, especially when it comes to what we care about most: our minds.

For years, scientists believed that the parts of the human brain that supported complex thought and language had only recently evolved. The mental life of animals was treated as primitive and utterly distinct from ours. But an explosion in animal research is showing that many components of human thought are shared with other species. Evidence shows that parrots can understand numbers, crows make tools, elephants and hyenas live in complex, rule-governed societies, and chimpanzees make sense of the world in many of the same ways we do. The implication is indisputable: Humans are not unique.

Click here for the full article.

Artistic animals provide zoos an untapped source of revenue

April 8, 2008

You might not be able to afford a Picasso, a Van Gogh or a Monet — but for $30 you can own your very own painting by Brittany the elephant.

She’s a resident at the Milwaukee County Zoo, where trainers encourage her to paint as a way to keep her mentally stimulated. She holds a paintbrush in her truck and slaps it at the canvas.

Zoo trainers across the country have been teaching animals to paint for years. Artists include monkeys, kangaroos, pandas and even a rhinoceros.

Click here for the full article.

Elephant paints self-portrait and single-trunkedly blows audience’s minds

March 30, 2008

You can find more information about the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project here.

Here’s a bit of info from their website:
The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project (AEACP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding people in need and to saving the diminishing number of Asian elephants left on our planet through its work with domesticated elephants. The AEACP raises funds through the sale of artwork created by elephants in order to generate money and create awareness for the people and elephants of Asia.

The AEACP is a continuing work of art by conceptual artists, Komar & Melamid. In its creation, Komar & Melamid brought the idea of teaching elephants how to paint from US zoos to the impoverished countryside of Southeast Asia, where the much needed ban on logging in the late 80’s left the remaining few thousand elephants and their caretakers out of work. The extensive logging of the countryside and the explosion of the human population in the area led to the destruction of much of the elephants’ natural habitat, leaving them with no wild to return to. Thousands of elephants and their lifelong caretakers were left without financial support and have since been forced to beg for food on crowded city streets. The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project is designed to help these surviving elephants and the people that care for them. The project is grounded on the basis of art functioning as charity, or art for the betterment of people as a whole.

The idea of art as charity is a largely original concept, although based in a long line of art rhetoric. Back in the 1920’s, Russian theorist, Chuzhak, coined the term, “life building” based upon his studies of Alexandar Bogdanov’s Organizational Theory of Art, in which Bogdanov theorized that art, as with any human activity, is based upon organization. Art, Bogdanov argued, was simply the organization of colors, lines, shapes, medium, etc. Under this premise, Bogdanov claimed that art of the future would involve the actual organization of people themselves, hopefully for the betterment of those peoples’ lives.

Culling Elephants in South Africa

March 7, 2008

I posted a week or so ago about culling elephants in South Africa (by the way, culling, according to my dictionary, is to “reduce the population of a whild animal by selective slaughter). The article basically states that authorities would not resort to culling elephants unless they review all other options and see it as absolutely necessary.

The population of elephants has grown to an unsustainable number (5,000 more than is sustainable, according to the article) and they feel that they must cull the elephants to decrease their numbers, instead us depending on other methods such as relocation and contraception.

This email I received from Born Free USA rejects culling elephants, saying that other methods of population control should be used.

I don’t know what to think about this. Of course I don’t want to see huge numbers of elephants being slaughtered, but on the other hand, maybe the existence of their entire habitat is on the brink of destruction, and maybe they have to act quickly to reduce their numbers so that more animals and plants are not wiped out completely. Also, I’m not sure, but I would expect that killing elephants would be cheaper than relocating them, sterilizing them, or using some other form of contraception. There are so many other causes in the world that this money could go to – is it fair to spend it on elephants?

What do you think?

-Kitty Mowmow

Born Free USA United with Animal Protection Institute

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Stop the Culling of Elephants in South Africa

Stop the Culling of Elephants in South Africa

Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute was utterly disappointed when the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, recently announced plans permitting a government-sanctioned culling of elephants.

Born Free USA united with API supports real conservation and a series of alternatives to culling — including range expansion, translocation, and contraception. We are urging the Minister to reconsider his decision, which would end a culling ban that has been in place since 1994, and which will have such brutal consequences for tens of thousands of animals.

We hope you will join forces with us in this effort, by writing to South Africa’s Environment Minister, expressing your concerns about South Africa’s announcement and intention to cull elephants.

To find what Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA united with API, and the Born Free Foundation in the United Kingdom, has to say about this issue, and to take action today, click here.

Thank you for helping these magnificent animals!

California Residents:
2nd Annual Fauna Art Show to Benefit Animals

If you live in Northern California, or may be visiting this weekend, Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute invites you to attend the 2nd Annual Fauna Art Show event in Sacramento on Saturday, March 8. This show is being hosted by Bodytribe Fitness, and artists participating in the show have graciously agreed to donate 50% of proceeds from each sale to Born Free USA united with API.

In keeping with our mission to Keep Wildlife in the Wild, this art show’s theme will focus on just that — and will cover the walls at Bodytribe with animal-related art work created by artists from the Sacramento region and beyond.

We look forward to seeing you there!

To find out more, including a list of many participating artists, and to read a special interview with Bodytribe Fitness owner, and longtime vegetarian, Chip Conrad, click here.

Make a Donation

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation in support of our 2008 campaigns and programs. We rely on your continued commitment to our vital work on behalf of animals — and we couldn’t do it without your help.

Donate to Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute today.Posted 03/06/08 – Okay to Forward/Crosspost


For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

If we could talk to the animals, would they empathize?

March 4, 2008

Marc Bekoff, professor of Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is in Australia to give a series of public talks on the emotional lives of animals.

Bekoff says scientists have moved on from the presumption that the way animals act is the result of programmed behaviour.

“It’s not a question of if they have emotions but why they have evolved,” he says.

Animals also have personalities, he says.

Bekoff says research has shown that elephants can experience grief, mice feel empathy, rats get excited about playing with a friend, sharks get mad and koalas have likes and dislikes.

Crocodile mums care for their kids, squid can be shy, fish can have addictive personalities and even coyotes get the blues.

“There are shy animals, bold animals, risk-takers … some animals wake up in the morning depressed and some wake up raring to go,” he says.

Bekoff says there is even evidence that animals possess a morality and have a unique “point of view on the world”, he says.

Click here for the full article.

For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

Walk on the wild side: Meet ‘Dr Lott’, wildlife vet

March 3, 2008

It took Pattarapol Maneeorn five days trekking through the jungle in Chanthaburi province to find a 65-year-old wild elephant stuck in mud. By the time the wildlife vet arrived, the animal was breathing slowly, his eyes showing his fatigue; his heart, left lung and kidney were being pressed down on by his six-tonne body.

Given medicine and doses of vitamins, the elephant became a little stronger. Three days later, a group of soldiers and local villagers tried to haul the creature from the mud. He groaned noisily, trying to lift himself up. Finally he was able to stand on his hind legs, one last time, before he fell dead to the ground.

“He had been waiting for me for so long. And it was too late to nurse him back to health.

“But I couldn’t get there any faster, I just couldn’t,” Pattarapol admitted, his eyes hidden behind black sunglasses. Before his arrival, he was treating a wounded Indian muntjac deer in Kao Yai, about 250km away.

Wild animals do not show signs of weakness or injury if not severely injured. And at that time the elephant didn’t need the most skilful vet, just the quickest to arrive to save his life. But, what if there is only one vet. How can he save every life? How can he always arrive on time? “It’s impossible,” he said.

Click here for the full article.

For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at, Sunday nights 8-10 central.