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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Elephants tune into Elgar
elephant
Classical music makes the animals better behaved
The sound of classical music is being used to soothe Scotland's only herd of elephants.

Staff at Blair Drummond Safari Park have found that playing Mozart and Beethoven makes the animals better behaved.

Keeper Ben Houston noticed the change after he began playing music to the park's African elephants in their enclosure.

Mr Houston said he got the idea from a previous Blair Drummond keeper who used to play the radio to the elephants.

"I started doing the same and discovered that overnight they certainly enjoyed classical music.

"And they like something a little bit more upbeat in the morning," he said.

Dung thrower

The park has three female elephants, Estrella, who is in her late 30s, and Mondula and Toto, who are both 32.

Estrella is thought to be one of the biggest in Europe and has occasionally proved to be a handful.

The small Blair Drummond herd spends most of the day out in the paddocks then return inside at night where they relax to the strains of Bach and Beethoven.

Mr Houston said the elephants had had a reputation for misbehaving and ignoring commands, but the calming classics had changed their behaviour.

However, he said that if Estrella does not like what is being played on the hi-fi she will throw dung at it.

Elephants have among the best hearing in the animal kingdom, using a variety of vocal, low frequency, sounds that humans cannot hear.


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