Watch: Impatient Elephant Disobeys Railway Rules
A young elephant delicately lifts the barrier blocking the railroad tracks in India's Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary and slips under. Once across the tracks, it gingerly steps over another obstruction.
“It looks as though this elephant has done this before,” says Joyce Poole, an elephant behavior expert and co-founder of Elephant Voices.
Elephants have long been famous for their smarts—they have long-term memory, can use tools, and maintain complex social groups. But increasingly, elephants are being recognized for their problem-solving abilities. And this ingenuity can get them in trouble.
Scientists collected proof of this in 2011, when they discovered that elephants, like humans, can have that creative “Aha!” moment. Researchers working with three Asian elephants at the National Zoo in Washington,