The word 'zoo' is elephant speak for Guantanamo
October 28, 2008 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Q: Why did the elephant cross the road? A: Chicken's day off. Or, according to this article, or this one, or this one, or this one it didn't. Doesn't explain this video, or this video, or this video.

Elephants can't get a break. Lily Tomlin wants to change that.
Maybe you're in the market for some legal ivory, but don't look on eBay. Trade in legal ivory fulels illegal trade, so eBay banned the sale of ivory.

Elepant jokes (LOLphants?) just to end the thread.
posted by cjorgensen (12 comments total)
Elephants equate humans and their works with death, and rightly so.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:12 PM on October 28, 2008

Those articles note that the African forest elephants will not cross roads. There are 3 living species of elephants, and I think those videos area all of the African Bush Elephants, the larger of the two African Elephants (if you trust DNA for differentiation).

I don't know if many animals really enjoy life in confined spaces. They might live longer than in the wild, but unless they have a habitat-esq sprawling space, it seems like they're condemned to a life of pacing around. Of course, those huge habitats make it hard for casual zoo visitors to actually see the animals.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:13 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

> Pour sherbet on elephant
posted by Wolfdog at 12:15 PM on October 28, 2008

African forest elephants live in fear of roads which they associate with poachers and death, scientists have discovered.

They aren't crossing roads. How do we know they fear them? Or that any fear is because of associations with humans, let alone poachers?

Just finished reading Animals in Translation (Temple Grandin) and she mentions the odd things other animals are afraid of. For instance, cows won't cross a platform they can see through, even if there's no chance of their hooves going through. Because cows are "living in fear" of something they "associate with humans"? No, because that's just how cows are wired.

Not that I'm pro-killing-of-elephants. But "siege mentality" seems a little...unscientific to attribute to an elephant.
posted by DU at 12:24 PM on October 28, 2008

...speaking of elephants...Hey, where's my trail?
posted by jaimev at 12:46 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

I know I'm not remembering all of the details correctly, but:

I saw a documentary a few years ago, which was entirely or substantially about elephants in captivity. One part dealt with rescue organizations here in the U.S. that adopt/acquire elephants from traveling circuses and the like. They live on a big farm somewhere in the South.

One of the elephants they'd had for years - she was the matriarch of the group. Another new elephant was brought in, and, like all n00bs, had to stay in a separate enclosure from the resident elephants for a while, until everyone could get used to each other's smells and whatnot.

The new elephant and the matriarch started calling to each other almost immediately. They would go to the edge of their enclosures and try to touch trunks.

Someone who worked at the rescue group did some research, and discovered that the two elephants had...worked together briefly years and years (like decades) earlier at the same circus. They remembered one another. They had missed one another. They were glad to see each other.

There is so much we don't know about them that we're barely asking the right questions right now. It wouldn't surprise me at all that they've figured out that people who want to hurt them use these road things, and road things are therefore to be avoided.
posted by rtha at 12:46 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

rtha's link, great story.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:13 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

*hugs From Bklyn*

I remembered that Africa section of the story, too, From Bklyn - I heard about it on NPR, I think, I couple/three years ago, and was struck by Eve Abe's (and other scientists') take on the destruction of the elephants culture as well as their habitat, and its effects on younger elephants, and the trauma they experience.

Reading this made me cry. But thanks.
posted by rtha at 1:37 PM on October 28, 2008

rtha - The Elephant Sanctuary is in Hohenwald Tennessee. They do really great work. And hey, I guess there's only 3 more days left of Elephant Awareness month!
posted by dchase at 2:44 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Is this the anti-joke thread?

A man walks into a bar...

...he's an alcoholic and it's killing his family.
posted by mullingitover at 3:04 PM on October 28, 2008

rtha - The documentary is called The Urban Elephant - and the two elephants in question were Shirley who is now at the Sanctuary and is the matriarch - and her friend Jenny, that she remembered from one summer spent in the same recovery tent. Shirley lived an incredible life, surviving a fire on a circus boat, being in Cuba when Castro took power, and finally living in a zoo for 22 years before the Sanctuary. She is still going strong. Sadly, Jenny has passed away last year.

How do I know all this? (self-link) The opera inspired by the two elephants.
posted by typewriter at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Elephants are pleasant folks, when not angry. And they are easily led by the nose (I've done it). But damn, have something to wash with after, those are some dirty noses!

Elephants are not good neighbors, especially if you're a subsistence farmer. They tend to mess up the truck patch. This places a strain on human/elephant relations, in some areas. So non-poaching, honest folks don't really want elephants around, often enough.

Elephants do get irritable. For reasons unknown (at least unknown when I heard about it) the elephants at Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, have given problems. Yet the elephants I encountered in Kruger Park didn't mind my presence at all. And there's that link above from Jaimev, to the place in Zambia where the elephants stroll through the hotel reception. (I appreciate the elephants lust for the mangos, a good mango is not to be missed!) No problems there, the elephants accept the humans.
posted by Goofyy at 6:21 AM on October 29, 2008

« Older Google settles suits   |   Just a little cute. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments