Elephants are without a doubt some of the most intelligent animals on Earth. They explore their environment and are curious about what happens around them. In the wild, elephants have been observed using sticks or rocks to scratch patterns in the sand and dust. This was the inspiration for an enrichment activity that was offered to the Calgary Zoo’s elephants several years ago. One of the elephants, Kamala, showed a continuing interest and for many years regularly painted. She progressed from “finger painting” – using her trunk - with non-toxic water colours - to using custom brushes made especially for her and acrylic paints.
In recent years, a number of things have changed in the way the Calgary Zoo elephants are managed and they now have a new building with more enrichment opportunities. So currently Kamala is not painting. We don’t know if she will resume this activity at some point, but those who have an original Kamala painting have something special in their homes.
The Calgary Zoological Society is a charitable organization that relies on your donations. Charitable Registration #11882 4192 RR0001.