An opportunity, by choice, to visit and see one of the world’s most amazing and massive creatures.
Elephants have aided man in war, dating from before Christ to as late as World War II. They were used in Europe, China, India, Persia, the Arab world and North Africa. They are classed as a pack animal in a U.S. Special Forces field manual issued in 2004. They were used in Iraq in 1987 to transport heavy weaponry. Generals, princes and other notables have ridden them in ceremonies and in combat for 2,000 years.
There are different species of elephants from various regions of the world, some more easily trained than others. The Asian elephants are the most docile and have been revered for centuries. Elephants have been the subject of art, literature and history for hundreds of years.
The elephants coming to the Nevada County Fair are not wild elephants but ones raised in captivity and domesticated. They are not circus elephants nor war elephants but ambassadors of their species for us to appreciate and learn about. This is particularly important with them being listed as an endangered species, primarily because of human poaching for ivory.
They have carefully and expertly trained to ride, as has been done since prior to 500 BC. They are cued in training and handling, as are dogs and horses and all other domesticated animals, to respond to pressure … that pressure can be a very light touch.
Elephant handlers and trainers, as well as elephants, are all individuals with varying degrees of expertise and intelligence. We must never judge all elephant trainers as one group but credit those who do a wonderful job for our benefit and understanding, while questioning those with outright abuse.
The fair board has spent endless hours to provide the public with a wonderful, unique and educational experience for 2013 “Under the Big Top.” They deserve our thanks and support.