I went on an elephant call today with Dr. Gairhe to vaccinate a couple of young Government elephant bulls for rabies and to trim their tails. I didn’t know what that was about, but soon learned that people prize the super course hairs of an elephant tail to make into bracelets. Sometimes they creep up on the captive elephants at night and chop off the end of the tail to get the hairs – they are worth a great deal of money. This is incredibly cruel and painful.
To discourage this and keep his elephants from being hurt, Dr. Gairhe, the Chief Government Wildlife Veterinarian, and his technician routinely trim the hairs of the tails of the elephants in their care, so the hairs are too short to use. Of course this is a painless process since they are just hairs. After trimming, they burn the hairs right away to keep them from getting into the hands of the wrong people. LESSON: Please don’t buy elephant hair bracelets!!