Elephants are glorious creatures. They are noble, majestic, and mesmerizing. Unfortunately, these gentle giants are not always treated with the respect they deserve.
The most notorious and despicable elephant-abuse practice is the poaching of elephants for their ivory tusks. To the elephant, the tusk is kind of like a tooth – and it keeps growing throughout the creature’s lifetime. To the horrific humans who abuse these wild wanderers, the tusk can be turned into a weapon, a tool for digging, or a wretched trophy.
Poaching is one way wild elephants are abused, but it isn’t the only way. Many of these noble creatures are also captured and converted into laborers. Elephants are quite strong and highly intelligent, which means that they are easy to train and effective to use. The problem? This isn’t fair to the elephant AT ALL!
When an elephant is put to work, his body is pushed to the extreme in order to carry out whatever burdensome task the human has captured him for. Elephants can be forced to push large boulders or pull wagons – sometimes as many as three at a time! This difficult work leaves the elephant in quite a state when he is finally able to retire.
The extreme manual labor such elephants are forced to endure devastates their health entirely. These poor creatures can break their backs, pull their muscles, and deform their bodies under the immense physical stress placed on them. By the time they are able to leave the workforce, their bodies have almost collapsed under all the pressure.
The life of a logging elephant is particularly wretched. Because it takes about 15 or 20 years to train an elephant to log in the forest, these poor animals begin their training almost the minute they are born.
They start out by learning commands, but they soon move to more stressful assignments. “At about age 6, they graduate onto more complex tasks such as piling logs, dragging logs or pushing them up and down hills into streams using their trunks and tusks,” explains Jeffrey Hayes on Facts and Details. By the age of 16 the elephants are involved in “full-time work.”
Needless to say, this is an extremely hard life. The work elephants that do make it into their old age are left with bumps and bruises – and often many more problems. It is crucial that kind souls like Paul Barton care for these gentle giants.
Paul, a classical pianist from Yorkshire, England, has been making an enormous impact in the lives of mistreated elephants. Having studied fine art at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Paul spends his days comforting these sweet creatures who have been through so much grief. He soothes their souls with his sweet music, and it’s exactly what these abused animals need.
Working with Feurich, Paul plays piano at Elephant’s World – a home for rescued elephants – in order to prove to others “that it is possible to interact with [these elephants] in very profound and heart-warming ways.”
One of the elephants fortunate enough to hear Paul’s mystic melodies is Mongkol, a 61 year old elephant who spent his life in the logging business. Like his fellow logging elephants, Mongkol’s life has been full of pain and suffering.
“His captive-held life was spent hauling trees in the Thai forest,” Paul shares in his YouTube video. “His body shape is deformed through hard labor, [and] he lost his right eye and tusk in this brutal logging practice.”
Thankfully for Mongkol, now that he is rescued he can live out the rest of his days in peace. Of course, he is still in pain, but Paul does what he can to soothe this sorrowful soul.
Paul likes to play Classical music for Mongkol because of the relaxing effect the music has on the noble beast. When he first performed, Paul wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Mongkol, but the passionate pianist was in for a pleasant surprise.
“I discovered Mongkol is an extremely gentle, sensitive elephant who enjoys music,” Paul explains. The amazing animal particularly enjoys Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata because of the song’s slow movement.
Paul plays for Mongkol in the morning and night, and he is sure to repeat the Moonlight Sonata often. Mongkol just can’t get enough! This endearing elephant just loves listening to the light notes and timid tune.
He is so captivated by Paul’s piano performance. Watching Mongkol’s ears twitch to the music will send you straight into cuteness overload. This might just be the greatest thing ever!
Mongkol has certainly had a hard life, but he is finally able to relax in peace with a good friend by his side. Paul’s musical talents are being used for such a noble purpose – to restore serenity to sweet souls like this. People like Paul are the reason we can hold onto hope for humanity.
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Source: Paul Barton