Artistic Elephant

January 6, 2008

Elephant Painting a Picture at Sanctuary in Thailand

(Click on the photo to view in larger format.)

This artistic elephant is painting a picture at the Maesa Elephant Camp we went to in Thailand. This particular elephant received no help from his handler, but some of the younger ones were helped here and there.

All the elephants at the sanctuary are protected and each has a handler assigned to them for life. Handlers are young when they are chosen to bond with a young elephant so that they may remain together for their entire lifetimes. The handlers and their families also live and work at the sanctuary for life.

The paintings the elephants were making were for sale and benefited the sanctuary, but we didn’t have enough baht for the one I wanted!

Edit: Oops! I had a bit of a blonde moment. The name of the elephant sanctuary we went to was the Maesa Elephant Camp, not the Elephant Nature Park. So, I changed the name and link.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole January 7, 2008 at 12:33 am

WOW, I’ve never heard of this before – that’s amazing!!!

(found you via blog365RSS feed)

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Bytecoders January 7, 2008 at 3:30 am

I’ve seen yesterday a documentary talking about these animals they are often like slaves for people in Thailand, in TV3 here in Catalonia.
Pretty cool site I’ve reached searching on the I follow movement, I’m another one I follow fan.
Just looking your todo-list, if you and your husband are thinking to come to Spain just drop me a call. By the moment, you’ve got my e-mail ;)

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Simple Mindz January 7, 2008 at 4:24 am

That is cool!

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London Blogger January 7, 2008 at 6:51 am

I have seen these elephants before, and I am totally amazed!
Of course I am also upset, I can’t paint a stick figure and an email can paint better than me. It’s embarrasing!
It must have been a great experience to get to see the whole thing in action. I like the part about the handlers being with just the one elephant to bond. That must be a great opportunity for those individuals.

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jamie January 7, 2008 at 7:47 am

That sounds like an amazing trip. I would love to see that!

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Jenn January 7, 2008 at 9:55 am

This is really amazing. I would love to see that! I’d love to own a painting actually.

Also, I received your package today. Thanks muchly! It’s so cute and I can’t wait until I have some place to go so I can use it hehe :)

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katelin January 7, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Oh that’s awesome.

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Binary Blonde January 8, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Nicole – I’m glad to have shown you something new!I had never seen it until we went to the northern region in Thailand. I was so impressed with the elephants at the sanctuary, too.

Bytecoders – Unfortuantely, that is true for the most part. Elephants, especially Asian elephants, are kept as beasts of burden in many countries, Thailand included. Thankfully, places such as the Maesa Elephant Camp exist to help keep the Asian elephants that are removed from slavery safe and happy.

Simple Mindz – Glad you enjoyed the post!

London Blogger – Teehee! It’s stunning the amount of talent in that elephants trunk, huh? And, yes, it was amazing!

While there, we witnessed a young boy learning how to get up onto the elephants back. He was learning “the basics”, because when he grows a bit older he will be bonded with his “own” elephant. It was heartwarming to see it in action.

Jamie – Traveling to Thailand was an experience I won’t soon forget. Everyone was so nice and it was just gorgeous. We had an amazing trip!

Jenn – I so wanted to take home a painting, but it just wasn’t meant to be. There were lots of different ones to choose from: bonsai trees, colorful abstracts, and other animals! Also, you’re so very welcome for your “Pay It Forward” giftie! I’m so happy you like it. :-D

Katelin – Truly, the Asian elephant is an amazing creature.

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GG January 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Doesn’t look like the elephant painting I have hanging in my house! Carol (of San Diego Wild Animal Park fame) and I worked together and she signed it with the tip of her trunk.

Alas, she passed away last year but I love looking at it. She picked the colors too…it is an abstract!

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Binary Blonde January 14, 2008 at 2:13 pm

GG – That’s so cool that you got to buy a painting! I would love to have some art created by an elephant in my house. A lot of the paintings the elephants did that we saw were also abstract, and they were just as pretty as the still life ones. :-)

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Billy Bangkok August 19, 2008 at 10:35 am

I’m so happy places like the Maesa Elephant Camp exist. I get so upset when I see those guys walking around Sukhumvit with the elephants trying to get people to buy a bag of snacks to feed the animal. I’m no animal expert but you can be pretty sure that walking around the streets of Bangkok isn’t good on their feet or knees.

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DUBAI ARTIST December 2, 2008 at 7:28 am

I never heard this before, I never thought that an elephant could paint something as nice as human can do. Now I’m sure that art is for every living creatures :-)

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Patty Shenker February 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Please look past your amazement at elephants painting & learn the truth. These elephants have been chained, beaten severely & repeatedly to do this trick, as with any other. It’s quite simple- if you see elephants doing things they don’t do naturally, it is unnatural & only done out of fear. Please do not support this cruelty! Check out the video on my blog in the post- Do Elephants Really Paint? Thank you!

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Deschutron July 9, 2013 at 1:24 am

@ Patty Shenker.

After a quick look on the Web, I see some pages that agree that elephants are made to paint out of abuse.
e.g. http://www.eyesofthailand.com/2010/05/17/do-elephants-really-paint/

But when you say “if you see elephants doing things they don’t do naturally, it is unnatural & only done out of fear,” I will need more evidence before I accept that, because that means that elephants will never of their own volition try something new, and that’s something I find hard to believe about intelligent creatures.

In the link I mention, it even says that some zoo elephants in the US are given the option of painting abstract paintings to alleviate the boredom of living in a zoo, which some of them take to. While that’s not such a good reason to paint, it’s not necessarily done out of fear.

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