Elephants Make Tools….primarily to scratch themselves…

As far as I can tell, captive working Asian elephants make tools primarily to reach itchy places. I filmed Mae Perm, a female elephant (who is no longer working, but instead living at Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand) select the right piece of bamboo and then carefully break it to make it just the size and shape she wanted. No one handed her this piece of bamboo and this was not something she was “trained” to do. Elephants learn to make tools by watching other elephants do it. And for some who do not live with other elephants, perhaps by watching humans or simply by getting creative on their own. I have seen Asian elephants use whatever is at hand (rope, logs, sticks, rough fabric) to fashion scratchers or fly-swatters for themselves.

Of course wild elephants use tools also. And here, a few more surprising tool users….from Wired Magazine.

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