Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gentle Giant...Elephants

Yes, I am talking about elephants. This animal probably have been around since prehistoric time. I supposed at that time they have saber tooth, and long furs, long trunks and were much bigger. However cartoonist always drew it cute looking, like in ICE AGE.

There are different types of elephants and it varies from countries, maybe due to its feeding. A Thai elephant is different from a Sri Lankan ones or the African ones. Do not be misled to think that elephants are tame, and you will be in trouble if you do. We are weary of strangers and will not allow strangers to come close to us, so do the animals. This is the fear or being harmed. However you better be careful if it is a mother animal and there are babies around. This is the instinct of motherly protection and she may charged at you.

Those that had been to places and seen elephants or ride on one, it is because the tamer is there. Don’t try anything funny if the tamer is not there. I sympathizes with elephants that are made to work, entertain human and killed for its tasks. Even its skin are made into wallets, shoes, bags and anything imaginable that is fashionable.

I remembered I was in a country with friends and we drove into this animal sanctuary. We saw elephants and were very excited. These are the tall, big ones with black skin and supper big ears like fans. Initially our intention is to move nearer to take a better look and also to take pictures. I think the two jeeps created some discomfort among the animals. In any animal group there is a leader and we saw this big elephant stood out and looking at us. The guide immediately off the jeep’s engine, we sat silently and dare not even breath loudly (as if our breath will disturb them). The group of elephants started to move towards the two jeeps and surrounded us. This is no fun anymore and the tension in the air intensified. The animals were sensing our presence and we hope to give them the impression that we meant no harm. We dare not start the jeep and run for life because the animals will be frightened and will definitely charged at us. I noticed there were little ones and maybe that was also one of the reason. This is a frightening experience and we forgot that these were WILD ELEPHANTS!.

Elephant have long memory – meaning it can remember you, so never do anything bad to it. In any case we should not do any harm to animals, whether they have long memory or not.

In Thai history, elephants are use for warfare. They were the ‘horses’ of army generals. If you saw Lord of the Ring, all the mammoth elephants were killed in the fights. Although it is a movie, and of course we all enjoyed the scene but too much killing for my liking.

Elephants are much love by both adult and kids. As a kid, somehow or rather we just felt that elephants are kids’ best friend. Any toys, hard or soft elephants appealed to us. I have one pink one from Jim Thompson sitting on my hard disk on top of my worktable. I have an abstract one in granite which is one of my favorite and I treasured it. I picked it up at a nursery – I would carry the whole family home if the space in my home permits.

Elephants should live in its own natural habitats but because of its gentleness, since long ago it is one of the animals in circles as well as other type of entertainment industry. I was told that once an animal come into contact with human and live along side human, it can never go back to its natural habitats. This is because its habit changes, its nature change and because it is well looked after by human, it lost it sense of survival in the wild and even its own type will distance themselves. Very much like human, isn’t it. Once we moved away from familiar ground, we do not know the danger that is facing us.

I love these creatures. I cannot bring myself to ride on one. How can anyone bare to kill this gentle giant? Please protect animals so that our younger generation gets to see them and appreciate them. Many animals are extinct now and if we go on senselessly killing, our future generation will not know what is an elephant.

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