Asking More Questions
After recording my data, I had a new question. I wondered where this knowledge came from. How did we discover that these plants could be medicine? Did people teach the elephants? Or did elephants teach the people?
People use many of the plants for medicine. But not all. Some plants are used only for elephants. People watched elephants in the forest. The elephants looked for these plants when they didn’t feel well. People gave these same plants to other elephants when they were sick. That helped.
Learning From Others
Many of the plants used to treat elephants came first from people. Some plants were used by elephants first, then people. For some, it was hard to tell who used them first.
We forget sometimes that other species have their own knowledge. If we pay attention, we can learn from them. For example, we learned from beavers how to build dams. We copied the shape of airplanes from birds. In the same way, the Karen have borrowed from elephant knowledge. Now, they know the best plants to treat everyone.