Monday, June 10, 2013

Loxodonta Africana, Elephas Maximus

I visit the elephants in the zoo and wonder what it would be like to see them in the wild. From the years where I spent all my TV time watching Animal Planet, I've seen dozens of elephant documentaries. From my sixth grade teacher who had us watch all of Planet Earth, and my eighth grade teacher who did the same, I've seen the same elephant documentary three times over.

They've always been my favorite. They chase big blue balls around the enclosure, or stand lazily at the fence, watching the people go by. They travel across the plains in herds, stopping here or there for water, their trunks sucking up great amounts of water.

I've always loved the elephants. Big, gray, wrinkled, they've always been my favorite animal to see at the zoo. "We have to see the elephants," I'll insist. My friends always agree, laughing as I drag them toward Tropical Asia and the Elephant Forest. We stop and watch the tapirs on the way, let our gazes slide over the orangutans and siamangs and the visayan warty pig. But we always reach the elephants eventually, peeking into the Elephant Barn to see if they're getting baths, or wandering over to the enclosure looking down on them as they play in the dust.

If you asked me my favorite animal, I'd probably say polar bears or cats or maybe even manatees. But there's something about elephants that I love. Something I can't quite explain, something that's always been there. If you asked me what animal I had to see at the zoo, I'd say elephants in a heartbeat. We can skip the leopards and the bears and the otters. It's the elephants I want to see.

{A small elephant statue I picked up at a thrift shop for a writing exercise last summer.}

The Dandy Lioness

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