Do animals enjoy music like humans? There is a good bit of evidence that says they do. One man has made it his life’s mission to bring joy to elephants with his music. Paul Barton took a trip to Thailand in 1996 and planned to spend about three months there.
He ended up meeting the woman of his dreams, and his plans changed.
Pauls’ wife, Khwan, is a wildlife artist and animal activist. Paul started to get more interested in animal activism, as well and took a special interest in helping the elephants of Thailand.
Barton started to study the elephants and found that Thailand went through a period of deforestation in the ‘70s and ‘80s. This caused many of these elephants to lose their homes.
Many logging companies and other businesses also forced elephants to carry and haul heavy logs and other things.
They were not cared for properly, and many were injured as a result of the work they were forced to do. The government banned timber cutting in Thailand in 1989, but the elephants were still left without homes.
Luckily, many conservationists help set up sanctuaries where the elephants could roam and be protected. Paul and his wife visited one of these sanctuaries, and Paul got an idea to bring some joy to the elephants by playing music for them.
He wasn’t sure how they would react, but he wanted to give it a try.
“The first time I played the piano at Elephants World, a blind elephant called Plara was closest to the piano by coincidence. He was having his breakfast of Bana grass, but when he heard the music for the first time, he suddenly stopped eating with the grass protruding from his mouth and stayed motionless all through the music.”
The elephant seemed to instantly love the music.
Plara was interested in what was going on and where the music was coming from. He couldn’t see, but he could hear, and he loved what he was hearing. Paul added:
“When he heard Beethoven for the first time, he stopped eating, stood still, and listened to the music with grass protruding from his mouth.”
How the elephants were reacting to the music fascinated Paul, and he knew that they were enjoying it.
Paul hoped that what he was doing was helping to make their lives a little better.
“So, I returned to Elephants World often after that day and stayed for long periods. Some elephants get very close to the piano of their own accord, they might drape their trunk over the piano even. Some hold their trunk in their mouth when listening, some start to sway with the rhythm of the music. The elephants are free to walk about around the piano, they are not chained or tethered in any way, and the piano keys are, of course, not made from ivory.”
While some people doubt that the elephants really care about the music, Paul believes that they do enjoy it. He has watched the elephants walk up to him and stick around as he plays. He can tell they like what they hear. He continued:
“If they didn’t like the music, then they could simply wander off.”
Paul has a close relationship with the elephants, and now that he is retired, he spends even more time with them.
He doesn’t only play music for them; he interacts with them in other ways, too. Many of them nudge him and act excited to see him when he arrives.
These elephants have had rough lives, and now, they can rest and relax in their sanctuary. While many of them may have a hard time finding the good in humans, thanks to Paul’s music, they are learning that humans can be kind. He plans to continue to play for the elephants for as long as he can. He enjoys it as much as they do.
Watch the beautiful moment below.
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Source: Animal Channel