WORKING ELEPHANTS: LOGGING, TREKKING, CIRCUSES AND CRUEL TRAINING METHODS

WORKING ELEPHANTS


Elephants have been employed to do many kinds of tasks. They have been used in road building to pull wagons and bush boulders. Some elephants have been trained to raise their trunk in salute to visiting foreign leaders and dignitaries. They have even been put work at railway station switching yards. A pad is placed on the animal's forehead and they are used to push as many as many as three cars at once to hook up with other cars.

Upkeep for working elephant is expensive. Elephants consume about 10 percent of their body weight every day. Domesticated elephant eat about 45 pounds of grain with salt and leaves or 300 pounds of grass and tree branches a day. In Nepal, elephants are given rice, crude sugar and salt wrapped with grasses into melon size balls a treat.

In the old days captured elephant were sold in auctions. Elephant markets still exist today. Females usually bring the highest prices. Buyers usually bring along astrologers to like for auspicious signs and markings that were believed to indicate temperament, health, longevity and work ethics. Many buyers are people in the logging industry or, in the case of India, overseers of temples who want the sacred animals to keep at their temples and bring out during important occasions with gilded headdresses and false tusks made of wood.

Old elephants are sold at used elephant markets. Buyers there look out for pink edges on the ears (a sign of senility), long legs (bad gaits), yellow eyes (bad luck) and foot cancer (a common disease). New recruits are often paired with senior elephants to get them acclimated.

Asian Elephants and Logging


Elephants are very important in the teak business. They are skilled professionals that are trained by their Karen mahouts to work alone, in pairs or in teams. One elephant can usually drag a small log on land or several logs through water with the chains that are harnessed to its body. Bigger logs can be rolled by two elephants with their trunks and lifted off the ground by three elephants using their tusks and trunks.

It reportedly takes 15 to 20 years to train an elephant for the logging in the forest. According to Reuters recently captured elephants “methodical, repetitive training methods teach the animals to respond to simple commands over several years. Aged about six, they graduate onto more complex tasks such as piling logs, dragging logs or pushing them up and down hills into streams using their trunks and tusks, before starting full-time work aged around 16-years old.Such animal worth as much as $9,000 a piece, and earn $8 or more for a four-hour day. Female elephants with short tusks are used for pushing things. Males with long tusk are good for logging because their tusks enable them to pick up logs. the tusks get in the way if the push something.


Work elephants used to hoist logs onto trucks that usually carry the logs to rovers, where the logs are float to mills. Men saw teak logs in the water and water buffalo, that kneel on command, pull the logs out of the water and push them onto carts.

Elephants are still used in Burma to move teak logs. Drivers, called oozies, prepared their mounts with a pick-ax-like tool called a choon. If necessary the elephants can be transported from place to place in trucks or trailers pulled by trucks. Elephants used in illegal logging are sometimes brutally used.

Elephants are a good alternative to clear cutting because they can be used to select only the species of tree that are needed, they don't need roads and they can maneuver through all kind of terrain. Because elephants in Thailand may be out of work soon as the teak forests are depleted, I say transfer them to the Pacific northwest were they can used as alternative to the clear cutting used there.

Elephants are cheaper and most frailty than tractors and damaging forest roads. "Instead of hauling away heavy green logs with bulldozers and tractor skidders, which scar erosion-prone hillsides," wrote Sterba, Burma uses elephants to pull their lighter dried logs to rivers on which they float to staging areas for exporting processing." [Source: James P. Sterba in the Wall Street Journal]

Elephants and the Great Tsunami of 2004

In Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka elephants were put to work clearing away rubble and debris in the search for bodies. Elephants were regarded as better at this job than bulldozers and other kinds of heavy machinery because they had lighter, more sensitive touch. Many of the elephants that did the work were employed in circuses and tourist parks.

One elephant handler told the Los Angeles Times, “They’re very good at this. The elephant’s sense of smell is much better than that of human’s. Their trunk can get right into small spaces and lift the rubble.” Bulls were applauded for their strength and ability to lift concrete walls. females were considered smarter and more sensitive. The elephants did not hand the bodies, which were often badly decomposed when they were found but lifted debris while human volunteers collected the body. Elephants were also put work towing cars and moving trees.

Temple and Festival Elephants


Elephants are common sights in India, even in the large cities such as Delhi and Bombay. The elephants are used mainly in religious parades carrying effigies of Hindu gods are sometimes dressed in gold for religious festivals and marriage processions. Mahouts earn about $85 a day working at religious festivals.

Describing an elephant at a festival, Pamela Constable wrote in the Washington Post, "Upon arrival...the elephants were painted with florescent flowers and hearts, draped with velvet curtains, loaded with a half-dozen costumed festival officials and set off for the all-day parades. Along the route, families held up their children to be blessed, poured fruit to water into the elephants trunks or simply gazed in awe...When the procession was over, the elephants were given a short break and then trucked back to Delhi, where they had wedding to work."

Major temples used own their own herds of elephants but "changing times have forced Kerala temples to give up the herds of elephants they traditionally maintained," and Indian naturalist told Reuter. "Now they have to hire the beasts from the mahouts."

Elephants belonging to maharajs often false tush made of painted and polished wood. females make the best mounts but the often lack impressive tusks so the wood tusks are fitted over the like false teeth. In the 1960 some maharjas had fallen on such hard times that some of them leased out their elephants as taxis.

Asian Elephants and Tourism


Maharajas and the great white hunters of the Raj used trained elephants to hunt tigers. Elephant fights featuring rutting males used to be the feature event at Maharaji birthday parties. Howdahs are the platforms of elephants that maharajas ride on. There are used in the tourism business as are wood and canvas saddle..

In India and Nepal, elephant are widely used on safaris that look for tigers and rhinos and to take tourists to tourist spots. Female elephants are preferred to male one. Of the 97 elephants used to carry tourist up a hill to a popular fort in Jaipur India only nine are males. The reason is sex. One tourism official told AP, “the bulls often fight among themselves while they are carrying tourists on their backs. Because of biological demand, the bull elephant in rut often and becomes bad-tempered. In one case an aggressive male pushed a female into a ditch while it was carrying two Japanese tourist. The tourists were unhurt but the female elephant died from her injuries.

Elephant Treks

Elephant treks are popular in Thailand, especially in the Chiang Rai area. Trekkers usually ride on wooden platforms that are tied to the backs of the elephants, who are amazingly sure footed on the steep, narrow and sometimes slippery trails. The mahouts sit on the elephants’ neck and guide the animals by nudging a sensitive area behind their ears with a stick while the trekkers sway back and forth in a firm, steady motion.


Describing an elephant trek Joseph Miel wrote on the New York Times, "The boy driving our three-ton conveyance was barely learners-permit age, he knew what he was doing. On the scariest ascent, he demonstrated this by wisely jumping to safety...we flung to and for at every upward elephant strode, with fear providing the strength that kept our numb hands glued to the plank."

When riding on an elephant you can feel the raised spine and rumbling movement of the shoulder blades. Sometimes elephant people-carrying elephants in Thailand stop on the trail to snack on leaves and plants and tourist he try to urge them on get a swat from the trunk and spray of water.

The naturalist Alan Rabinowitz who has made a career of establishing refuges for leopards, jaguars and tigers prefers traveling by foot. He told National Geographic that he finds riding on elephant to literally be a pain in the butt. Elephants may be good for transporting gear, he said, but they’re “only fun to ride for the first 20 minutes. After that you get very sore.”

Asian Elephants and Safaris


According to Biologist Eric Dinerstein who spend several years in Nepal using elephants to track rhinos, elephants have a penchant for retrieving fallen or lost objects such as lens caps, ballpoint pens, binoculars. "[This] can be a blessing when you're traveling through tall grass, "he says, "if you drop it, chances are your elephants will find it." One time an elephants topped dead in it tracks and refused to budge even after the mahout started kicking the animal. The elephant then stepped backwards and picked up an important filed notebook that Dinerstein inadvertently dropped.

"The females," Millers said, "were especially adept at looting my pockets of [bananas and brown cane sugar treats]. Once, nine of them pinned me to the fence at the shrine of Mastiamma. Quietly but firmly, with the ultimate in good manners, these ladies robbed me of everything edible I possessed. When I tried to escape, there was always a trunk, a hefty shoulder, or a massive foreleg casually blocking the way."

No one pushed or jostled or grabbed. It was all as genteel as a cookie-and-sherry party at a Victorian parsonage...The mahouts tried to dissuade the animals with one or two half-hearted bangs on their heads with the ankis, but these only produced foolish gurgles from somewhere up at the tops of their trunks. they knew exactly how far they could go." [Source: "Wild Elephant Round-up in India" by Harry Miller, March 1969]

Asian Elephants in Zoos

Elephants have a hard time being cooped up in zoos. The suffer from arthritis, foot problems and premature death. Elephants in some zoos are tethered to chains and aimlessly wing their trunks back and forth in a form of mental illness biologists called zoochosis. They have also been observed sadistically torturing ducks and crushing them with their feet. Many zoos have come to conclusion that zoos can not meet the needs of elephants and have made a decision not keep them any more.


There are about 1,200 elephants in zoos, half in Europe. Female elephants, which make up 80 percent of the zoo population. Reuters reported: “Elephants are often chosen the most popular zoo animals in surveys, and a newborn calf draws hordes of visitors. But seeing animals behaving oddly in zoos is more disturbing than educational, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said. Oxford University researchers contended 40 percent of zoo elephants display so-called stereotypical behavior, which their 2002 report defined as repetitive movements that lack purpose. The report said studies have shown zoo elephants tend to die younger, are more prone to aggression and are less capable of breeding compared with the hundreds of thousands of elephants left in the wild. Moreover, critics say many zoo elephants, though hardy, spend too much time cramped indoors, get little exercise and become susceptible to infections and arthritis from walking on concrete floors. [Source: Andrew Stern, Reuters, February 11, 2005]

Attention was drawn to the issue after the deaths of four elephants in less than a year in 2004 and 2005 at two U.S. zoos. Two of three African elephants housed at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo died over four months. Animal rights activists charged their deaths were hastened by the stress brought on by the elephants' 2003 move from balmy San Diego. Zoo curators denied climate was to blame and concluded that Tatima, 35, died from a rare lung infection and Peaches, at 55 the oldest of some 300 elephants in U.S. captivity, suffered from organ failure. When two elephants in San Francisco's zoo died within weeks of each other, the resulting outcry prompted the zoo to close its exhibit and opt to send its remaining elephants to a California sanctuary against the wishes of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. After the controversy several zoos---including ones in Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and the Bronx---decided to phase out their elephant exhibits, citing insufficient funds and lack of space to adequately care for the animals. Some elephant were sent to a 2,700 sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

Defenders say zoos serve important purposes, including offering access to researchers, providing money and expertise for habitat preservation elsewhere and as repositories of genetic material for fast-vanishing species. But critics say captivity is both physically and mentally stressful. "In the old days, when you didn't have television, children would see animals for the first time at the zoo and it had an educational component," said Tufts University animal behaviorist Nicholas Dodman. "Now the zoos claim they're preserving the disappearing species, preserving embryos and genetic material. But you don't need to do that in a zoo. There's still a lot of entertainment to zoos," he said.

Calves born in captivity have higher mortality rates and survivors often have to be isolated for a time from their inexperienced mothers, who may trample them. Based on the Oxford University report that found 40 percent of zoo elephants engage in stereotypical behavior, the report's sponsor, Britain's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, urged European zoos to stop importing and breeding elephants and to phase out exhibits.

Zoo elephants reportedly prefer women keepers. They sometimes also masterbate a lot. Describing one female elephant, a zookeeper told Smithsonian magazine, "Every time you'd turn around, there she'd be, getting off on a log."

Making Elephants Fly

On preparations to fly three elephants from Toronto to California, Sue Manning of AP wrote: “For elephants to fly, you have to do more than load trunks on a plane. To get the elephants ready to fly, the animals had to undergo crate and noise training. A Russian cargo jet and two fleets of trucks had to be rented; pilots, drivers and crews hired; crates built and fitted for each elephant; hydraulic gates reinstalled at the sanctuary; and barn space cleared. [Source: Sue Manning, AP, July 17, 2012]

The amount of red tape rivaled only the green involved, but former game show host and animal activist Bob Barker is paying the bill, expected to be between $750,000 and $1 million. Zookeepers have been teaching the animals to walk in and out of their travel crates, finished in January. "We rattle the crates and make all kinds of sounds so they are used to noise," Pat Derby, an animal activist who found a home a for the elephants, said, because "there are no test flights."



Two of the elephants---Iringa and Toka---do have past plane experience---they were flown to Toronto from Mozambique 37 years ago. Would an elephant forget? "It would be the way we remember some gut feelings," Joyce Poole, an elephant behaviorist and co-founder of ElephantVoices, said in a phone interview from Norway. "They are used to going in and out of cages and being in small confined spaces. Otherwise, getting back into a truck could bring back some scary feelings. Obviously, they were captured and taken from their families and had some pretty terrifying experiences, but they've been captive for a long time. I think they'll be fine with it."

The elephants fit snugly in their crates and will be tethered so they don't get hurt if they hit ruts in the road or turbulence in the air, Derby said. The Russian cargo plane is bigger than a C-17 so will fit all three elephants easily, along with keepers from Toronto and crews from PAWS. There may not be on-board movies for the pachyderms, but there will be carrots and other treats in case they get the munchies.

Poole said an elephant's ears will also probably pop just like a human's on takeoff and descent. Anti-anxiety pills would be dangerous, Derby said. "You want them to have full capacity and be fully aware of everything that's going on. It's not a good idea to tranquilize any animal because they can flop around and get sleepy and go down. They need to be awake and conscious and able to shift their weight and behave normally." What if they get bored? "The experience itself will stimulate them," Derby said. "They will be talking to each other and it probably will be the equivalent of us wondering, 'Where are we going?' and 'What is this?'" she said.

Traveling together will also help, she said. "They make sounds we can't even hear, low rumbles and sonic sounds. They will be talking to one another through the whole flight, I am sure," Derby said. There could even be some trumpeting. "Trumpets are like exclamation points," Poole said. There are trumpets for play, socializing and alarm. "The one you are most likely to hear is the social trumpet, given in the context of greetings or when groups come together," she said.

The elephants will be in their crates when they leave the Toronto Zoo on trucks, during the flight and during the truck trip from San Francisco to San Andreas, 125 miles northeast. That could be a 10-hour trip. A truck trip would have cost less but would have taken over 40 hours without stops or traffic. Barker said he would rather spend the extra money than make the elephants spend that much time confined in their crates.


Ringling Brothers


Asian Elephants in Circuses

Elephants that work in circuses have been trained to kick balls, balanced balls, roller skate, dance, perform tricks, place wreaths around people’s necks, stand on their hind legs. Elephants in Kenya have been observed turning on a faucet and captive elephants have been known to unscrew the bolts on their cages.

In the 1930s elephant trainer “Cheerful? Gardener with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus performed a trick in an elephant picked him by the head and swung home from side to side. A caption on a photograph of the stunt in an October 1931 Geographic article on circus life read: "The animal first learns to hold thus gingerly a ball the size of a human skull...Then gradually enough, weight is added to duplicate that of a man. Finally the performer substitutes his head for the dummy." Gardner, was admitted to the International Circus Hall of Fame in 1981. The “human pendulum trick” is no longer performed in modern circuses. [Source: National Geographic, October 2005]

Animal activist Jay Kirk wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “In 1882, P.T. Barnum paid $10,000 to have Jumbo, the world's most famous elephant, shackled like Houdini, stuffed into a crate and sailed across the ocean to New York City. Barnum got Jumbo on the cheap because---unknown to him but well known to Jumbo's keepers at the London Zoo---the elephant had gone bonkers. Jumbo had become such a hazard that his owners feared for the safety of the many children who took rides on his back. Alumni of such rides included an asthmatic Teddy Roosevelt. [Source: Jay Kirk, Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2011]

“Jumbo was so traumatized by his travels at sea, confined to his crate, that his handler had to get him stinking drunk. Because beer was already part his regular diet, getting the elephant to swill a few pails of whiskey was no major chore. Three years after Barnum got his prize elephant, Jumbo met his end in a head-on collision with an off-schedule locomotive. Maybe he was drunk. I hope so. The accident happened while they were boarding the animals onto the boxcars to make the next city.” [Ibid]



Cruel Methods Used to Train Circus Elephants

Jay Kirk wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Over the centuries, circus trainers have come up with ways to get wild animals to comply. Not very nice things. Things like bullhooks, whips, metal pipes and kicks to the head. Things like systematic and total breakage of spirit. Of course, trainers do so only because they know the results are well worth the entertainment it provides to you and your children. They've been using these same methods---all except the more recent stun gun---since at least Jumbo's time. [Source: Jay Kirk, Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2011]

“The training of circus animals is an effective and long-standing tradition, albeit conducted in secret, presumably under the assumption that it's more fun to watch an elephant put on a fez or do a headstand if you're not burdened by the knowledge of how that elephant came by such magnificent and unnatural skills...Bolivia, Austria, India, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and Slovakia, among others... have passed measures to ban wild animals in circus acts. Other nations, including Britain, Norway and Brazil, are on the verge of doing the same. Already, dozens of cities in the United States have banned circus animals.” [Ibid]

National Geographic reported in October 2005: “Behind many of the circus tricks and tourist rides in Thailand is a training ritual known as phajaan , documented by journalist Jennifer Hile in her award-winning film, Vanishing Giants . The video depicts villagers dragging a four-year-old elephant from her mother into a tiny cage, where she is beaten and deprived of food, water, and sleep for days. As the teaching progresses, the men yell at her to raise her feet. When she missteps, they stab her with bamboo spears tipped with nails. The prodding continues as she learns to behave and accept people on her back.” In the wild, calves don't venture from their mothers' side until the age of 5 or 6, Phyllis Lee of the University of Stirling in Scotland, a specialist in baby animal behavior, told the Washington Post. She likened the accelerated separation in the circus to a kind of "orphaning": "It's extremely stressing for the baby elephant. . . . It's traumatic for the mother."

Jennifer Hile told National Geographic, “Tourists from around the world pay top dollar to take elephant rides in the forest or watch them perform in shows. But the process of domesticating these animals is something few outsiders see. Carol Buckely of the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee said similar methods are used elsewhere. “In virtually every place that has captive elephants, people are ding this, though styles and degrees of cruelty vary,” she said.



Cruel Methods Used to Teach Baby Elephants the Ringling Brothers Circus

Sammy Haddock started working with elephants when he joined the Ringling Brothers circus in 1976. On his deathbed in 2009 he revealed the crule methods used to train baby elephants at the circus. David Montgomery wrote in the Washington Post, “In a 15-page notarized declaration, dated Aug. 28, before he took sick, Haddock describes how, in his experience at Ringling's conservation center, elephant calves were forcibly separated from their mothers. How up to four handlers at a time tugged hard on ropes to make babies lie down, sit up, stand on two legs, salute, do headstands. All the public's favorite tricks. [Source: David Montgomery, Washington Post, December 16, 2009]

His photos show young elephants trussed in ropes as bullhooks are pressed to their skin. A bullhook is about the length of a riding crop. The business end is made of steel and has two tips, one hooked and one coming to a blunt nub. An elephant trainer is rarely without a bullhook. The tool is also standard in many zoos, including the National Zoo. In recent years, for public consumption, elephant handlers have taken to calling them "guides."

PETA shot a video of Haddock in his living room, leafing through a photo album. He jabs one picture with a thick forefinger. He says it shows ropes used to pull a baby elephant off balance, while a bullhook is applied to its head, in order to train it to lie down on command. "The baby elephant is slammed to the ground," Haddock says. "See its mouth is wide open--- It's screaming bloody murder. It doesn't have its mouth open for a carrot."

A significant phase in a calf's life is the separation from its mother. In his declaration Haddock described a brutal procedure: "When pulling 18-24-month-old babies, the mother is chained against the wall by all four legs. Usually there's 6 or 7 staff that go in to pull the baby rodeo style. . . . Some mothers scream more than others while watching their babies being roped. . . . The relationship with their mother ends." One of his pictures shows four recently weaned elephants tethered in a barn, no mothers in sight.

Ringling Brother Response to the Methods Used to Teach Baby Elephants

David Montgomery wrote in the Washington Post, “Ringling officials confirm that the pictures are genuine images of activity at its elephant conservation center. But they dispute Haddock's and PETA's interpretations of what is taking place. For example, they say, the bullhooks are being used merely to give light touches or "cues," accompanied by verbal commands and tasty rewards; the babies' mouths are open not to scream but to receive a treat. "These are classic pictures of professional elephant-training," said Gary Jacobson, director of elephant care and head trainer at the conservation center. ". . . This is the most humane way." [Source: David Montgomery, Washington Post, December 16, 2009]

“Ringling officials also say that portions of Haddock's declaration are inaccurate or outdated. For example, Jacobson said, elephants aren't "slammed to the ground" when being trained with ropes to lie down. Rather, the animals are stretched out so their bellies are close to the soft sand, and they are rolled over. Looking at image of calf being separated from its mother Jacobson said, "That was before the turn of the century," he says, referring to the late 1990s. He says he practiced "cold-break weaning," or abrupt separation from the mother, only when a set of mothers back then wouldn't let their calves be trained in their presence.

"I separate them slowly now," he says, and only when the calves demonstrate natural independence, from 18 to 22 months, but as late as when they are 3 years old. "When you separate the calves, they thrash around a bit," Jacobson says. "They miss their mother for about three days, and that's it."

Ropes are a big part of training. Haddock said in his declaration: "The babies fight to resist having the snatch rope put on them, until they eventually give up. . . . As many as four adult men will pull on one rope to force the elephant into a certain position." Jacobson scrutinizes the photos of ropes and chain tethers. He points out the precautions that he says he takes. Thick, white doughnut-shaped sleeves are on one baby's feet. That's hospital fleece, he says, to make the restraints as soft as possible. "If you didn't use the rope, you'd have to use the stick," Jacobson says. "This way we use the carrot and the rope."

Weighing up to a ton, a young elephant is strong. That's why so many handlers are working on each at the same time, Jacobson says. It's a credit to Feld's resources that so many people can focus on one elephant pupil, he says. "On the third day [of training a new trick], there are no ropes on them anymore," he adds. "It goes very, very quickly."

In another photo, Jacobson is holding a black object about the size of a cellphone close to an elephant lying on the ground. Haddock said the device is an electric prod known as a "hot-shot." "It's possible I could be holding one there," Jacobson says. "They're not used as a specific training tool. There are occasions when they would be used."

In several photos, Jacobson touches elephants' feet with a bullhook to get them to lift their legs. He touches the back of an elephant's neck to get it to stretch out. From the photos, it's impossible to tell how much pressure he is applying. "You cue the elephant," he says. "You're not trying to frighten this animal -- you're trying to train this animal." He adds: "You say 'foot,' you touch it with a hook, a guy pulls on a rope and somebody on the other side immediately sticks a treat in their mouth. It takes about 20 minutes to train an elephant to pick up all four feet." Bottom line, says Jacobson: It's not in Ringling's interest to mistreat the elephants. "These things are worth a tremendous amount of money. They're irreplaceable."



Asian Elephants and Painting

There are 30 "mature" elephant painters in North America. Other elephants in the zoo are said to have started scratching images in their cages with sticks "maybe jealous of the attention is getting" one keeper said. In Thailand, you can buy a CD of elephants playing Thai instruments, harmonicas and xylophones.

Ruby at the Phoenix zoo and Renee at the Toledo zoo are two elephants that enjoy painting abstract canvases using her trunk. Tara, based on Hochenwald, Tennessee, paints with watercolors and prefers red and blue. Works by Renee have been described as "focused frenzy masterpieces collaboration." Painting sold by Ruby earn the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona $100,000 a year. Individual paintings by Ruby have sold for $30,000. The record for an elephant painting as of 2005 was $39,500 for a painting made by eight elephants.

Describing Ruby at work, Bil Gilbert wrote in Smithsonian magazine, "An elephant person brings to an easel, a stretched canvas, a box of brushes (like those used by human watercolors) and jars of acrylic paints fixed onto a palette. With the marvelously manipulatable tip of her trunk, Ruby taps one of the pigment jars and then picks a brush. The elephant person dips the brush into this jar and passes it ruby, who begins to paint. Sometimes she asks, in her own way, to have the same brush refilled repeatedly with the same color. Or she may change brushes and colors every few strokes. After a time, usually about ten minutes, Ruby puts her brushes aside, backs away from the easel and indicates that she is finished.”

Ruby's trainers gave her paints after noticing that has liked to make designs in the dirt with a stick and arrange piles of pebbles. She often paints with red and blue and reportedly uses bright colors on sunny days and darker colors on cloudy days.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: National Geographic, Natural History magazine, Smithsonian magazine, Wikipedia, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, The Guardian, Top Secret Animal Attack Files website, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, The Economist, BBC, and various books and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated November 2012

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