Coping with elephant moods
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2006:
The debate over whether elephants can be kept safely and
humanely spread to China after a sick elephant named Qing Qing on
June 8, 2006 used his trunk to smash the head of 15-month Shanghai
Wild Animal Zoo attendant Li Guohoa, as Guohoa, 43, prepared to
clean the elephant’s food basin.
But zoos continue to believe they can somehow find ways to
resolve the many problems associated with elephant-keeping.
An elephant named Patna died from cancer in early May 2006 at
the Zagreb Zoo, in the capital city of Croatia. The keepers feared
they would lose Patna’s longtime companion Suma, too.
“Suma was refusing to eat, became uncommunicative, and
showed all the signs of a serious depression,” Zagreb Zoo director
Mladen Anic told Agence France-Presse.
Suma in early June blew stones through her trunk at five
musicians who came to the zoo to play classical music. “But as soon
as the concert started,” Anic recalled, “Suma leaned against the
fence, closed her eyes and listened without moving” through
compositions by Mozart, Vivaldi and Schubert. This inspired Anic
and staff to begin daily music therapy sessions.
“We are so glad that we can provide things that Suma really
enjoys,” Anic said.