Elephant Lends a Trunk after Tornado

Oka lends a trunk to aid cleanup

Why did we choose an elephant to represent Kelapo? Elephants are a symbol of wisdom and extreme intelligence. Aristotle once said they passed all other animals in “mind and wit.” Elephants mind’s are so sharp that they are said to never forget. There are many stories of family members remembering each other more than 20 years since they last saw one another. Their intelligence is thought to rival dolphins and primates and in the case of female elephants, the older the elephant, the stronger her memory. Elephants are found throughout the South Pacific and have been a worshiped symbol in the Hindu religion and Asians cultures. Plus, elephants with their trunks turned up have been a long held symbol of good luck. So how could we not use a good luck, brainiac, elephant as the mascot for Kelapo?!

Recently, Oka the elephant made news when she helped with the cleanup after tornadoes leveled Joplin, MO.  While Oka is a circus elephant and we do not condone the mistreatment of animals, much of this cleanup would not have been possible without her.  The article says:

“A week after the May 22, 2011, tornado that leveled much of Joplin, MO., volunteer Mark Schroeder was helping sift through the rubble when he did a double take. “Is that an elephant?” he says he wondered. “We thought we were hallucinating.” They weren’t. Their show canceled, Piccadilly Circus performers came to town with Oka, 40, an Asian elephant, to aid the cleanup. Accustomed to heavy lifting, Oka, guided by her trainers, removed debris and towed a car from beneath a crumbled home. She “pulled that car out like you and I might move a chair,” says circus owner Dick Garden, 69. While some questioned putting an animal to work, other said Oka brought smiles to those in need. Says Schroeder: “It was nice to detach yourself from the reality.”

– People Magazine

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