Elephant Painting Hoax Debunked

Elephants are thought to have many human traits. Known for their long memories, scientists believe that elephants mourn over the bones of lost family members and may share a number of emotions that humans experience on a daily basis. Because of these thoughts, it is only natural to believe that an elephant would also have some creativity, right? That’s the concept of elephant painting. People purchase portraits that are painted by elephants, but it’s all just a scam.

How Are the Elephants Painting?

The process of elephant painting is pretty simple. The trainer of the elephant must first teach the elephant to hold a paintbrush. Then, using tugs on the elephants ear, the trainer directs the elephant to paint certain lines with the paintbrush. It’s been said that the elephants decide to change colors when they drop their brushes, but in reality the trainer just places a new paintbrush into the trunk grip of the animal and then instructs the animal to continue.

There is no creative process going on at all with the elephant. It is a trained mechanism that is simply brought about by numerous hours of practice.

What makes elephant painting more of a sad exhibition than anything else is the fact that most elephants only paint one thing day after day. There is no variation in what is being created. If an elephant is trained to paint flowers, then that elephant paints flowers for the rest of its life. When the painting is done, the elephant is rewarded with some bananas from the audience that watched the exhibition.

Are the Elephants Actually Being Abused?

The motivation for having elephants paint pictures is purely financial. To get elephants to the point where they’ll submit to being able to be trained to paint, trainers use a method that is called “crushing.” Crushing involves taking an elephant from its mother, less than 3 years old at best, and then placing it in a small kennel where it cannot move. As the elephant fights the confinement, it is beaten without mercy until it chooses to submit or it dies.

Half of the elephants that are trained through crushing will die. If that happens, trainers just discard of the animal’s body and get a new elephant.
Only when the spirit of the animal has been broken will a trainer then be able to direct the animal to paint. Even then, however, multiple people are guiding the elephant through the training process to reinforce the fear of injury that the animal has. If you look closely at the elephants that paint, you will see physical scars. Those didn’t come from the wild. They came from the people who “taught” the animal to paint.

Elephant paintings might be popular right now, but they wouldn’t be if the truth was known about them. It’s all just a hoax to gain a financial profit and it comes at the expense of one of the world’s most majestic creatures.