This is a video I shot of a 4-year-old elephant named Suda painting a picture of herself at the Maetaeng Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Original Elephant Painting - NGeo Wild on Tape
National Geographic flew us back to Thailand in order to confirm and document our Original Elephant Painting video of an elephant painting the realistic image of an elephant holding a flower. Listen to the experts and enjoy the great story about this elephant whose art takes care of other elephants.
This gentle giant, Hong, was never abused or forced to paint. She was rewarded with bananas and sugarcane as she learned each stroke. She also receives her favorite treats after each painting.
Gifts with a Cause
What's Behind Elephant Painting
Save Elephant Foundation's Founder, Lek Chailert explains the tragic process behind making elephants paint for tourists. Please visit our website to learn about our campaign for the important work of Save Elephant Foundation. THANK YOU! The audio is an excerpt from the BBC Radio 4 Programme 'The Conversation', as indicated in the first frame of the video you see here.
Elephant Artists? Here’s Why Making an Elephant Paint is Cruel, Not Cute
During a painting performance, the elephant’s mahout stands diligently at the elephants side, poised with bull hooks.
Bull hooks or the more discrete method, a nail that can be hidden in the mahout’s hand, is shoved into the soft tissue of the elephants ear.
To train the elephant to move the brush to create stroke patterns that we recognize as flowers, trees, or even an elephant, the mahouts use these painful prods to guide the elephant’s movements. Further if an elephant paints incorrectly, they are beaten, either with a bull hook, or physically hit on their head or trunk.
Read more here.