by Anura Guruge
++++ Search on ‘elephants’ for numerous posts.
I have done a LOT of posts on elephants, particularly the “Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey” circus elephants and the elephant parades we used to have in Manchester, NH. >>>>
Cruelty to any animal, even fish, with the exception of snakes, bother me, bother me greatly. When it comes to dogs, big cats (and by BIG I don’t mean fat domestic cats) and elephants it is worse. While at university, reading Computer Technology (and with an unconditional job offer from IBM in my back pocket), my ambition was to be a professional Game Warden in Africa. During my second and third years I wrote to all the major game reserves in Africa trying to get a job. It was difficult to get a game warden job my mail those days.
Growing up in Ceylon I saw a fair amount of elephants, domesticated and wild. I last saw wild elephants, at a watering hole at dusk, in a game reserve in Sri Lanka, in August 1980. Elephants don’t faze me. They are wonderful, intelligent animals.
IF you ever have the fortune to look eye-to-eye with an elephant you will know what I mean. They study you. They talk to you with their eyes. That saying about ‘elephants never forgetting’. Not sure about that, BUT when an elephant is studying you you get the distinct impression that he really is taking stock of you and storing it away. Even MORE special and I, alas, have only got to do this once. Tickling the belly of baby elephant and have him squirm with his little stubby legs waggling all over the place! Yes, just like with a dog or puppy. Works with domesticated Asian elephants when they are about 3 months old. They will go down on the floor, just like a puppy, for a banana (or two, or three). Then they will lie there and let you tickle their belly with its wire-stiff, hairy baby bristles (which they lose with age). Yes, we had friends who were mega-rich, owned huge estates and kept domesticated elephants to work the land and walk in Buddhist parades. The young ones, up to about 6 months, were allowed in the house! Polished concrete floors and lots of servants. So cleaning up was never an issue and most of the time their droppings are dry and fibrous. So easy to just sweep up. Nothing like having a 3 month baby elephant prancing around a large, very open plan house. Slightly better than a bull in a china store. They are very aware of furniture etc. Really like a big dog with a trunk and large ears. Not sure what the prices are now and, of course, you need space and lots of food, an elephant costs about as much as new car.
I saw this story, first thing this morning, on my pad, when I did my customary quick glance at the U.K. “Daily Mail“, (my all time favorite newspaper), while listening to CNN, to get a read of what really is happening in the real world, outside of Alton, N.H. It made me cry. Why the Indians, who are usually pretty good about how they treat animals, would do such a thing confounds me. Also that the elephant had never retaliated. That is elephants for you. Very phlegmatic!
Got me thinking about cruelty to circus elephants! I need to revisit that. This was indeed a wake up call for me this morning.
I am so glad that this elephant is free. I can see an elephant crying. They know so much.