trunkation

14 Fun Facts About Elephants!

1) African and Asian elephants are sometimes thought to differ only by the location of the animals, but, evolutionarily speaking, they are species as separate as Asian elephants and woolly mammoths.

2) The elephant’s closest living relative is the rock hyrax, a small furry mammal that lives in rocky landscapes across sub-Saharan Africa and along the coast of the Arabian peninsula.

3) African elephants are the largest land mammals on the planet, and the females of this species undergo the longest pregnancy—22 months.

4) Despite their size, elephants can be turned off by the smallest of critters. One study found that they avoid eating a type of acacia tree that is home to ants. Underfoot, ants can be crushed, but an elephant wants to avoid getting the ants inside its trunk, which is full of sensitive nerve endings.

5) Elephants don’t like peanuts. They don’t eat them in the wild, and zoos don’t feed them to their captive elephants.

6) Female elephants live in groups of about 15 animals, all related and led by a matriarch, usually the oldest in the group. She’ll decide where and when they move and rest, day to day and season to season.

7) Male elephants leave the matriarch groups between age 12 and 15. But they aren’t loners—they live in all-male groups. In dry times, these males will form a linear hierarchy that helps them avoid injuries that could result from competing for water.

8) Asian elephants don’t run. Running requires lifting all four feet at once, but elephants filmed in Thailand always kept at least two on the ground at all times.

9) An African elephant can detect seismic signals with sensory cells in its feet and also “hear” these deep-pitched sounds when ground vibrations travel from the animal’s front feet, up its leg and shoulder bones, and into its middle ear. By comparing the timing of signals received by each of its front feet, the elephant can determine the sound’s direction.

10) Like human toddlers, great apes, magpies and dolphins, elephants have passed the mirror test—they recognize themselves in a mirror.

11) Elephants can get sunburned, so they take care to protect themselves. “Elephants will throw sand on their backs and on their head. They do that to keep them from getting sunburned and to keep bugs off,” Tony Barthel, curator of the Elephant House and the Cheetah Conservation Station at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, told Smithsonian.com. To protect their young, adult elephants will douse them in sand and stand over the little ones as they sleep.

12) Stories of African elephants getting drunk from the fermented fruit of the marula tree are not true, a study concluded. The animals don’t eat the fruit off the ground where it ferments, the fresh fruit doesn’t stay in the elephant’s digestive tract long enough to ferment, and even if an elephant did eat the fermented fruit, it would take 1,400 pieces to get one drunk.

13) Elephants have evolved a sixth toe, which starts off as cartilage attached to the animal’s big toe but is converted to bone as the elephant ages.

14) Some farmers in Kenya protect their fields from elephants by lining the borders with beehives. Not only are their crops saved, but the farmers also get additional income from the honey.

youtube

This guy is kind of genius.  He creates music using remixes of sights and sounds while traveling.  I love this one from Bhutan!

youtube

I have had MANY “language barrier” issues while traveling.  Many places I go people called me “Eddie”.  They say “In our country Eddie is a boys name”.  And I am thinking “Yes - in mine too!”.  My husband once told a shopkeeper in Spain that the shoes I was looking at “were very handsome”.  He also meant to ask for directions and instead said “Do you know where you are”.  Every time it happens I think of this awesome scene in “Lost in Translation”.  This is one of my all time favorite movies … Bill Murray is just genius.

4

Silk Weaving in Bhutan!

While in Bhutan we are able to visit a silk weaving workshop.  I was amazed at the total focus and detail that the weavers put into every piece. It was hypnotic watching them move so quickly from row to row. I had an entirely new appreciation for the finished product (which can take them eight months to complete) after watching them work.  Check out a few of the photos below … 

youtube

While in Morocco, we wondered how the woman had such great, youthful skin and what their secret was … it was Argan Oil!  While researching all natural and chemical free cosmetics we came across Josie Maran who also uses Argan Oil in all her products … the best of both worlds!  Since then, we have become a Josie Maran convert and use ALL of her products.  They are cruelty free, chemical free, vegan, paraban free, all natural and she supports the local women of Morocco!  And our skin has never looked, or felt, better!

4

I know that most people do not love or connect with elephants as much as I do, but everyone has to have a soft spot for Dame Daphne Sheldrick and all she does to save, protect and rehabilitate elephants in East Africa.  We were very fortunate to visit her elephant sanctuary just outside Nairobi and have been moved by what she does to preserve these beautiful creatures and help towards preventing their extinction.

You can see the elephants and her in the new movie “Born to be Wild”.  She has just released a book called “Love, Life and Elephants” and will be at the American Museum of Natural History TONIGHT!  Tickets are still available on the AMNH website.

Be sure to check out the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website.  They keep you updated on orphans and your heart melts each time.  You can also become a foster parent to an elephant (or give it as a gift).  Baby Elephants are often left orphaned by poachers.  We fostered Kibo when we visited.  And got to play with this adorable baby rhino while we were there.

4

We LOVE our new product in from Turkey!  We met a great friend there who worked to design some pieces for us and the best part, he made little Trunkation logos that are on the necklaces and bracelets!

These items are not even on the website yet, so if you are interested please just e-mail! 

We made a special trip to Tiznit while in Morocco.  We were on a mission to find traditional Berber jewelry and heard this was the place!  We went to a tiny factory and found the most amazing cuffs.  While there, they thought that it would be fun to dress me up in all the Berber accoutrement!  I think I blend right in :-)  Stay tuned for the great cuffs and some additional photos!

Watch on trunkation.tumblr.com

Any animal lovers should run to see this IMAX!  It is playing at the AMNH in NYC.  It includes some of the beautiful and adorable rescued elephants that I was able to meet and play with at the David Sheldrike Trust in Nairobi.  Elephants will always have a special place in my heart.  And the human like qualities of the baboons will blow your mind!