Elephants

Not long ago, Ranger Rick ran a story about Marie Galloway, the elephant keeper at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Here are a few more fun facts and tales about Marie and her Asian elephants.

1. Respected Elder:
Ambika's trunk and ears are dappled pink with age. Ambika is 60 years old, and one of the oldest Asian elephants in the country.

2. Elephant Meet-Up:
While working on this story, the author, Libby Schleichert, got to pet both Ambika and Shanthi. "Their skin was very wrinkled and leathery," she says.

Soon afterward," Libby continues, "Shanthi uncurled her trunk and waved it in front of my face. Marie told me that she was sniffing my breath as if to ask, 'Do I know you? Have we met?'"

That made Libby smile. She says, "Being sniffed by an elephant was very cool."

3. She's One of Us:
Marie has become one of the herd, it seems. Awhile back, a helicopter flew very low over the zoo. "Next thing you know," comments Marie, "I found myself inside a protective circle of elephants, a place usually reserved for calves."

4. Elephant Smarts:
Marie gives an example of how smart elephants are.

One time Shanthi wanted to get at a tasty-looking branch hanging high over her yard, but she couldn't reach it." Marie goes on, "Shanthi went off and came back carrying a metal tub in her trunk. She stepped up on it, pulled the branch down, and began eating."

5. People Elsewhere Helping Asian Elephants:

 Find out how people in Southeast Asia are helping to save the endangered Asian elephants by clicking here.

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