Today I went to the Elephant Camp with some friends. It was very much a trained show, which I don’t prefer as much as seeing animals “in the wild,” but nevertheless it was quite amazing to see what animals can do if trained properly. There was a bit of a show, where the elephants play soccer, (my personal favorite) paint paintings, throw darts at balloons, play basketball… and some other stuff. I enjoyed having the elephants hug me and pat me on the head with their trunks, as well as give me elephant kisses, of which I got six! Basically they stick their trunk on your cheek and suction it to you, making a cute kissing noise. It’s a bit snotty sometimes, though.
The very very best part though, was seeing the wee baby elephant, which was only three months old! It fascinated me how alike it was to a human baby. He was trying out his fine motor skills – just like a baby – clumsily trying to pick stuff up with his little trunk. He would trot about, coyly eyeing us through the fence, and try and steal his mum’s food out of her mouth. He was very playful, and would nibble at his trainer’s shirt, and wrap his trunk around his neck, and climb up the fence to be close to his face. I was utterly enchanted by the elephants. What amazing creatures they are! So big, and obviously intelligent. I wondered the whole time what they must be thinking about this gig that they’ve got. Do they like doing the same show over and over? They’ve got it pretty good, when it comes to care. You can tell that they’re well kept.
That brought to mind our role as humans, to take dominion of the world and rule it. Animals are ours to take care of, and they fear us and serve us. So, this was an interesting way that the elephants serve us, but it isn’t wrong. The humans who care for them are being good stewards, as far as I can tell, by caring for the elephants well. It does seem sort of sad that the elephants aren’t in their natural habitat, running free. But is it better for them that way? It’s a multifaceted question. It could be better for them in a way, but in another way it’s better for them to be protected from poachers and predators.
I think that the elephants are in a good place there.