Think origami is hard? Well Swiss artist Sipho Mabona, who is known for his large-scale origami work, has made a life-size origami elephant out of a single piece of paper. He announced his plan to make the giant elephant late last year. But he'd need a 2,500-square-foot piece of paper, made specially for the project. To finance the work, called White Elephant, Mabona turned to the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Within a month Mabona had raised $26,000 and got to work.
The project took more than a month, with a team of almost a dozen people helping out. The final sculpture is more than three metres tall — or about the average height of an African elephant. It's currently on display at the KKLB gallery in Beromünster, Switzerland. Luckily for us, Mabona filmed the laborious folding process. You can see the elephant take shape in the time-lapse video above.
Of course, this is just the latest in a long line of excellent elephant stories — and at Strombo.com, we really, really like elephant stories. So, we've rounded up some of our favourites from the past few years to appease your pachydermal curiosity. Here they are:
Elephants mourn the loss of a friend
In March 2012, author and conservationist Lawrence Anthony — otherwise known as "The Elephant Whisperer" — passed away. After his death, a group of wild elephants in South Africa that Anthony had helped rescue and rehabilitate, travelled to his house and appeared to stand vigil for two days. It's a spectacular story of connection between animals and humans. Read the full story »
When an eight-month-old elephant in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, fell into a well, caretakers at the park sprang into action. They helped get the calf out of the hole and reunite her with her mother. And they filmed the whole thing. You can see the heartwarming video (along with some pictures) here.
Elephants cry when they're sad
We've had stories of elephants mourning, but do they also cry when they're sad? According to this story, an elephant in China that was rejected by its mother spent several hours alone, crying, suggesting that animals can in fact display sadness in ways very similar to humans.
Elephants can distinguish between human languages
As we discovered this week, it seems elephants might be able to hear differences in human languages — and react accordingly. A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that elephants in Kenya's Amboseli National Park could distinguish between the Maasai and Kamba languages. There was little reaction to the Kamba, who rarely threaten them, but the elephants bunched up in defensive formations when they heard Kamba voices, since they have come into conflict with elephants in the past. Read the full story »
An elephant plays the harmonica
This is exactly what it sounds like. And it is exactly that impressive. Check out the video.