WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Elephant At National Zoo Can Solve Problems

Play associated audio
Daily exercises keep elephants’ limbs loose and their minds sharp.
Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Daily exercises keep elephants’ limbs loose and their minds sharp.

Over in the Zoo's elephant house, Kandula is busy bowing and curtsying to a trainer's commands.

Don Moore, associate director for animal care sciences at the zoo, says these daily exercises keep elephants' limbs loose and their minds sharp.

"They're so smart that we have to challenge them mentally every day," he says.

But Moore says scientists only recently discovered just how smart elephants are.

"We gave the elephants a variety of boxes, tires and butcher blocks," he says. "Kandula then was able to smell the food which was up above him. He moved a cube over and stood on it and he got the food."

He did the same thing with a tire.

"Kandula brought butcher blocks over, and made kind of a mound of blocks that he could stand on to get to the food."

Moore says only chimps and dolphins had demonstrated that kind of insightful behavior.

“Well, what we think is if people think animals are more like humans, it makes it so that we maybe have more responsibility of stewardship of animals and for their conservation for future generations.

But for now, Kandula's just focused on his next treat.

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation"

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

NPR

For Greece's Farmers, Growing Pressure To Be More Competitive

Greece grows plenty of good agricultural products, but has trouble competing internationally. Many in Greece say it's time for the farm sector to modernize.
WAMU 88.5

Obama's Trip to Africa & Foreign Aid

By visiting Africa this month, President Obama is drawing attention to one of the diplomatic tools that most directly shapes America's relationships with other countries: foreign aid and assistance. But now all policy makers at home feel the United States is pursuing the soundest strategy when it comes to providing aid abroad. We explore the issue with the official in charge of the Africa portfolio for the United States Agency for International Development.

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation"

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.