Episode 4 – FR Why Elephants are Cool! – Transcript

Jenna: Hello, happy people and welcome to Office ADHD. Hello. And today we’re going to talk about some of the reasons that elephants are amazing. I guess I should tell you before we start that my first career path was actually to be a zookeeper and I have a degree in zoology. That doesn’t mean I know everything about all animals, but it does mean that I adore animals and elephants are actually my mom’s favorite to see at the zoo. Part of the reason I chose elephants for today anyway, one of the reasons that elephants are so amazing is because they are incredibly intelligent. They show emotional learning just the same way that people learn emotions, that they learn from each other how to behave. Some elephants are more popular than each other. They have very complex social structures. They live in family groups. Generally, just the adult females live in the family groups and then the juveniles and babies and then the males live in their own social groups. But they also just combine. Like you’ll have a family group, then they have above the family group, they have bond groups which are like kind of more like your cousins and things. So the family group will sometimes have cousins with it. And then even above the bond group, they’ll have clans. They’ll combine and work together based on how many resources and things are available at the time or the different times of year. They’ll kind of walk together and not walk together. They’ll have like special greetings for each other so that you know that they know them. They are pretty amazing. They are a keystone species is what they’re called. It means that they’re I guess you would imagine keystone being from building a gate. If you build a rock gate that’s built like an arch, the keystone is the main stone that holds everything together. If you take that out, the entire gate falls. So as a keystone species, they keep together a lot of the environment. On the African savannas especially, there are African forest elephants and there are Asian elephants. But on the African savannas they are keystone because they not only are big enough to really affect the environment, but they are what they call gardeners because they’ll walk along eating seeds and pruning things. And as they go, these seeds come out in their dung and then the dung matures and they plant seeds all across the savannah. Their dung is also home to a lot of insects and larvae that feed a lot of the other species across the savannah. One of the things that’s really interesting about them is their communication methods. So, like I was saying, they have special ways to say hi to each other. I thought this was general knowledge, but it turns out it was one of my zoology knowledge things. So the same way that dogs hear really high frequencies, so only dogs can hear dog whistles, elephants hear extremely low frequencies that we can’t hear. They can feel it through their feet as well as hear it for long distances. The really neat thing about their sensitive feet is they can also hear and distinguish different hoof beats and different seismic activity, different things like that, that’s around their area and be able to adjust to it. They communicate their ideas to each other, and they’ll even debate what the next best decision to do is, what path they should go on. And with their excellent memories, they have excellent memories and they’re able to communicate and share information. An older elephant can tell a younger elephant where a water hole is, and they’ve been able to see that the younger elephant can follow the directions. Even if that younger elephant has never seen the water hole, they’ve been able to follow the directions that the older elephant gave them to get to that water hole. It’s pretty amazing. And one of the things that I thought about when I was thinking about how good they are at communicating, I was like, when you go to the zoo and you’re looking at the elephants, are they talking about you and you don’t even know? Are they like, wow, when in the world does that person have on their head? Or, hey, I think I smell peanuts in that person’s pocket? You know what I’m saying? Are the elephants talking about us? And we don’t know. One of the cool things I found when I was just looking up more things about elephants is they actually found an elephant Ethogram. I didn’t actually know they made Ethograms. This is a new term for me for animals, but the Ethogram breaks down their communication for you and their behaviors. I’m going to link this on the website on TheOffice adhd.com so that you can go and figure out what the elephants are saying. So that basically it breaks down their behaviors and their sounds, and then it’ll tell you basically what they mean, what they’re trying to go for there with what they just did. So next time you go to the zoo, you can bring the Ethogram with you and see if you can figure out what the elephant is trying to say about you. One thing that I would like to say about zoos is that they get a bad rap. Because back when they were first created, before people knew what they were doing, caring for animals, yes, they were not the best places to live. However, I really would like to give a boost for zoos that overall, zoos really, really try hard to take care of the animals. In fact, if you ever go to a zoo, the zookeepers don’t really like doing keeper talks because they really get along better with their animals generally, than they do people. And they’re always fighting for better conditions for their animals. They do amazing enrichment activities with their animals to keep them going. They do all sorts of great things, and zoos are actually an extremely important part of conservation for especially our endangered animals. There’s some animals that are actually only still not extinct because they live in captivity, and we’re working on different breeding programs and things to bring them back out into the wild in appropriate places. There was a whole program where people were talking about bringing elephants to the Great Plains. I’m not so sure about bringing animals back to historical places where they may have lived, but bringing elephants back to their current habitat, or animals back to their current habitat, that I support, that’s where I stand on that. And that’s the information I’d like to give you about zoos. I’ll give you a thing. There another thing, too, is if you are a huge elephant fan and you would like to support elephants, the World Wildlife Foundation, they are really cool. The World Wildlife Foundation is they go around the world trying to support wildlife how they can. They do big things and try and help support legislation, which is one of the best ways to support wildlife. For example, one of the things that really, really threatens elephants right now is still the ivory trade, which I know you would think would not be big still because of how much convenience efforts are out there. It’s still big, especially in Asia. And they’ve recently, well, in the past few years, they’ve been able to finally get legislature in China to stop the ivory trade there, or at least to make it illegal so that they’re able to save more and more elephants. This way, in some sanctuaries in Africa, they’re able to also chop off the tusks. It’s kind of the same process as dehorning a goat so that then the elephant will stay alive, because poachers don’t want the elephant, they want the tusks. If they cut off the tusks, then they’re less likely to actually harm the elephant. There’s some of those programs out there. Anyway, if you would like to adopt an elephant. So cool, right? I will put that link out there. The World Wildlife Foundation has a thing where you can symbolically adopt an elephant. And obviously they don’t send you an actual elephant. However, they will send you a little plush elephant, which is so cute, or you can get an elephant T shirt or different elephant things that are really cool. I’ll put that link there in case you want to support the elephants that way. So while you’re going around out today, just know that if you live in a town that has elephants at the zoo, they can probably hear your drive back and forth to work. And maybe if you say something in a really low voice tone, the elephant will hear you next time you’re at the zoo. Have a great day. As always, thanks much for listening. And if you want to know more about anything we talked about today, or if you want to be part of the discussion join us@officeadhd.com. Thanks so much for listening. See you next time.

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