Elephants Can Count


I wasn’t surprised to hear this fact about elephants the other day on a BBC podcast, especially after reading so many stories of elephant premeditation, problem-solving and their complex forms of communication.  In preparation for Thailand I have been navigating a huge amount of information about Asian elephants frought with stories that are heart-breaking and tragic as well as accounts of the many people who are spending their lives working to help elephants in a variety of ways. I am discovering the layers of complexities in elephant management, the issues around elephants in zoos and circuses and the problems of diminishing habitat and huge numbers of domesticated elephants in Thailand without enough people able to take care of them.

I have just watched a powerful movie by Galen Garwood, an artist and filmmaker living in Thailand, called Panom. It’s a tear-jerker and raises huge numbers of questions. It is also very poetic and beautiful.

As Geoff and I make arrangements for our trip March 8, I am continuing to stay open to several angles as I gather information. We will follow an itinerary but leave plenty of room for serendipity. The majesty, elegance, poignancy of the elephant as well as issues of man’s dominance over such a huge, intelligent and strong creature will work its way into our filming and I am excited by the stories we will hear. With trunks on the brain and organ in church to play tomorrow, it’s time to call it a night and submit to dreamtime…

About naturestage

Miranda Loud is the Founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit NatureStage based in Waltham, MA, and is an interdisciplinary artist - classical singer/organist/filmmaker/photographer and environmentalist. She writes about the vital need for education to include a more heart-centered approach to studying other species that leads to a sense of stewardship. Naturestage creates works that foster empathy and kinship with other species, using the emotional power of storytelling in different art forms, mainly film, photography and music. She is also a public speaker on art and social change. Her current projects include The One Language Project, Park Dreams, The Elephant Project, and Elephantasia which all use different art forms to encourage a mind shift in how we relate to other species by asking "How would the world be different if we viewed other species as someones instead of somethings? If, instead of drawing lines, we drew circles?"
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