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Elephant in Thailand Can Actually Do Self-Portrait Painting

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We all know that elephants are very intelligent animals, but we don’t expect them to start picking up a paintbrush and actually paint. Well, seeing Suda, an elephant in Thailand, will surely change your mind.

Suda has become famous for her art. Seriously. She uses her trunk to move the brush and do a self-portrait!

Suda grasps the brush with the tip of her trunk and draws an accurate picture of an elephant.

Source: youtube
She also creates little hearts and even writes her name afterwards!

Source: youtube

So how on Earth can an elephant actually do this? When it comes to intelligence, there are some elephants who can give humans a run for their money. Their trunks are dexterous and flexible enough to move tools such as a paintbrush. But they can’t paint on their own instinct alone; elephants like Suda are trained to do so.

According to Snopes:

“(Elephants) aren’t engaging in any form of creativity, much less abstractly making free-form portraits of whatever tickles their pachydermic fancies at the moment.” Instead, “they do nothing more than outline and color specific drawings they’ve been painstakingly trained to replicate.”

Training an elephant to paint is not a joke. There’s tugging, nudging, and pulling involved to teach the elephant how to work the brush.

Trainers also use their voice to instruct the animals what to do.

Source: youtube

As expected, there are people concerned whether the means to train the elephant is humane or not. There are reports that these animals get maltreated to the point of submission, so they will easily follow instructions. After all, most of the elephants put on a show for tourists and monetary gain.

But according to Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project, a non-profit organization, not all of these animals are used for tourism purposes.

The website says:

“The training process is stimulating and based on positive reinforcement, and part of the group’s mission is to educate elephant trainers about how to safely and carefully train domesticated elephants.”

“Funds gained from selling the paintings go to local communities that rely on elephants for their value in tourism, as well as conservation agencies that reintroduce elephants into the wild and to fight illegal poaching in Southeast Asia.”

Watch how Suda does this amazing feat!

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