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Mamie (The Elephant) Paints

The Knoxville Zoo is richer by a half-million dollars. And, as a special "thank you" to the donor, an original oil painting was commissioned. The artist: Mamie, the resident pachyderm Picasso.

The 36-year-old Mamie paints by holding a brush in her trunk. She was taught to paint by zoo handler Deborah Anderson, who says the initial goal was to help Mamie shed her shyness and submissiveness around the other elephants. It seems to have worked; Anderson says now the 8500-pound pachyderm is more self-confident.

News About Animals

An added reward has been all the publicity about the elephant that paints.

The generous donation will be used to create an exhibit called Elephant Flats, which will include more than enough space, including a watering hole, for as many as eight elephants. It is expected to open in two years.

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