Elephant Appreciation Day

 

Today, the 22nd of September is Elephant Appreciation Day! And because I really love elephants and couldn’t stop after just one water color, I had to paint a second one. 🙂

 

elephant

African Bush Elephant (water color on paper; Sept. 2018)

 

Most of us only get to see elephants in zoos and/or documentaries, and some of us, like me, might dream to see them one day in the wilds of Africa.

But if we want to, we better hurry as African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered.

One of the biggest threats to elephant populations still is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants also include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people. In Asia they´re used as working animals. And in the past they were even used for war, think of Hannibal for instance, who crossed the alps with them in order to attack Rome.

The trunk of an elephant contains up to 40,000 muscles, the human face on contrast has only 26. Elephant trunks have multiple functions, including breathing, olfaction, touching, grasping, and sound production.

 

elephant 2

Elephant (water color on paper; Sept. 2018)

 

Did you know that the animal’s sense of smell may be four times as sensitive as that of a bloodhound? And the trunk can be used for as delicate a task as wiping an eye or checking an orifice, and it is also capable of cracking a peanut shell without breaking the seed.

Elephants can communicate with each other over long distances via infrasonic sounds and thus can cover distances up to 10 km (6 mi) – we would require a mobile phone for that!

And they also exhibit mirror self-recognition, an indication of self-awareness and cognition that has also been demonstrated in some apes and dolphins.

Many scientific debates center on the extent to which elephants feel emotions – which in my mind is utter nonsense as it is clear as day to me that they do have emotions just like any living being on this planet. Have you ever seen a female elephant grieving over the lost of her baby? How could that not be an emotion?

 

 

 

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84 thoughts on “Elephant Appreciation Day

  1. I didn’t realise it was Elephant Appreciation Day! They are such wonderful animals. I remember watching a documentary about a calf that had died in the dry season and the mother stayed with it long after it had passed away. You could almost feel the grief. It was difficult to watch. Here in Thailand, elephants are used for work, but a lot of the time it’s to cart humans around. There are very few places here that are actual sanctuaries to help them; I think there is one near Chiang Mai that is doing good things. One of my favourite animals. Your paintings are awesome. Have a fab weekend my friend xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Gill! Yes, watching these kind of documentaries is very difficult and yet it’s so important to show people this side as well, isn’t it? I’m glad to hear there are some places in Thailand where elephants can find sanctuary. I understand how using them for work is deeply rooted in their culture.
      Have a beautiful week! xxx

      Like

  2. Your painting touches me, and the facts you give us on elephants surprises me. I know I love elephants: that they are intelligent beings who certainly have ‘feelings.’ But I didn’t know about their trunk. Incredible! I get sick to my stomach every time I read about elephant killings for the ivory. Simply evil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Pam! ❤ Whenever I paint an animal I try to learn as much about it as I can, really don´t know why, probably a research bug of some sort! 😉
      And I know the feeling only too well, it turns my stomach over as well and covers up my soul with black clouds every time I hear about it. Like you said, simply evil.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful paintings, Sarah. It hurts my heart that these amazing animals aren’t cherished and protected. I’ve come to realize that they are intelligent and emotional with a sense of self. I too would love to see them in the wild someday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Diana! ❤ Elephants should definitely be more cherished and protected! They are such amazing creatures and I really would so much love to see them in the wild too someday, I can already imagine the wonder and awe I´m sure I´m going to feel. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What great paintings! You captured their gentle spirits so well. I do hope that elephants will remain in the wild, but you’re right, they are in real peril. The recent slaughter of so many of them was just sickening. They don’t deserve that, no creature does.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Ann!
      And yes, they´re in real peril and need to be protected. It would be a sad world for future generations to grow up without ever seeing an elephant in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Iris! Elephants are just fascinating, aren´t they? Combining delicacy and strength in an astonishing way.
      Have a wonderful and creative weekend too, my friend! 🙂 💕🐘

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful work my friend. Both painting and words work together to tell a story that desperately needs to be told before we are looking at photos of the last elephant’s corpse. Sometimes (too often), i’m ashamed to be human. Wishing you a lovely creative weekend. xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do love Elephants. They are phenomenal creatures that should be revered, not slaughtered. There seems no way to stop this as those in power are all about filling pockets, not hearts. Your rendering of them is beautiful as always. I’m not sure I want to see them up close and personal. It would make me cry to see what is being endangered so seriously. People! 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Marlene!
      And I couldn’t agree more with you, they should be revered, not slaughtered. And to think that this only happens because people believe the powder won from elephant tusks, or that from rhinoceroses for that matter, increases potency, or who want to decorate their homes with them, makes me just so sick. The greed and disrespect seem to know no end, especially when, as you´ve said, those who are in power are only interested to fill their pockets, and not their hearts.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your paintings are wonderful, Sarah. So expressive and sensitive with a masterful eye toward the use of gray paper. Elephant eyes seem small compared to their other features but are deeply expressive, and you rendered this quality well. Their decimation by poachers is horrible as it would be a tragedy if this great creature were made extinct by greed and stupidity. Can be said as well of the destruction of all creatures for human gain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, Shari! As always, your words about my art make my heart sing with joy!
      Whenever I saw an elephant in the eye, be it in the zoo or a documentary, I was overwhelmed by their soulful expressions. And I get so sick just thinking about what humans do to them or any other living being for this matter. It drives me to despair really, and I sometimes feel ashamed to be part of this human race. But there are good people too, people who do everything they can, to help these creatures and who build so called sanctuaries where elephants who have been abused all their life, either having had to work or having been held captive in a circus, can live in relative peace. It´s humans like these and places like that, that give me back my belief in the good that is possible after all.

      Liked by 1 person

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