There are many interesting animals in this world but perhaps the one that captures the most attention as far as wild animals are concerned is the elephant. Not only are they beautiful creatures, they are also quite intelligent and it seems as if we often share much more with them than most of us realize. The unfortunate thing for many elephants, however, is the fact that they live a life that is less than what it was meant to be. They could be abused, either in the wild or in captivity.
One of the interesting things about animals is the fact that they have the ability to remember when something good was done for them. This is perhaps especially true of elephants, who are often known because an ‘elephant never forgets’. In this story, you will see the heartwarming interaction between a man who fell in love with the elephants and the elephants who had their lives changed as a result of his tender loving care.
Paul Barton is the man in the story and he is not only an English artist, he is also a pianist. Above all, he has a strong love for animals. He wanted to embark on a new adventure so in 1996, he packed up and moved to Thailand. He was only going to spend three months in the country but when he met his future wife, Khwan, everything changed.
Khwan is an animal activist and a wildlife artist. Barton got more involved in the animal activist community in Thailand, and that is where this beautiful story takes place.
One of the animals that caught Barton’s attention more than any other is the elephants in Thailand. He learned that in the years between 1975 and 1986, Thailand went through a time of rapid deforestation. It was because of the teakwood that grew in the country, so companies from around the world started cutting down trees. They didn’t pay any mind to the animals who called the forest their home.
One of the animals that suffered the most were elephants. Those elephants would have to haul the logs for long distances and they would often get scratched, leaving them bloodied as they did their work.
Thailand’s government stepped forward in 1989 to ban commercial timber logging. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the suffering for the elephants. They had lost their home and it was time for humans to step up to the plate and do something about it.
Animal lovers and conservationists began to set up sanctuaries to help these elephants who had been abused and neglected. They gave them the necessary space to roam free and enjoy life as close as possible to living in the wild.
Paul Barton visited Elephants World, and when he was at that sanctuary, he absolutely fell in love with the elephants. He saw that they were emotional and empathetic so he formulated a plan. He would use his musical talents to play classical music for those animals. He called the program, Music for Elephants.
“The first time I played piano at Elephants World, a blind elephant called Plara was closest to the piano by coincidence,” Barton told Coconuts Bangkok. “He was having his breakfast of Bana grass, but when he heard the music for the first time, he suddenly stopped eating with the grass protruding from his mouth and stayed motionless all through the music.”
Barton has a YouTube page and he shares videos of these concerts. They love listening to music and will stand next to the piano, moving back-and-forth to the time of the music.
One of the most emotional videos that were posted is when Barton plays ‘clair de lune’ for an elephant who has had a difficult life.
Amphan is blind in one eye and has a difficult time seeing out of the other eye. She is 80 years old but she loves music. As he plays for her, she stands still and watches what is taking place. When the camera zooms in on her face, it is clear that she is crying. After he stops playing, he walks over to give the elephant a hug.
Amphan and the other elephants at Elephants World have gone through a lot. Barton plays music so they have the opportunity to relax and to enjoy something beautiful in their life. You can watch the heartwarming video of him playing for the elephants below: