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Elephant Musicians, Lampang, Thailand, 2005

Photo: Elephants playing musical instruments

Elephants explore their creative side with super-sized musical instruments, including this custom-made xylophone, at the Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Thailand. Elephant handlers called mahouts encourage the animals to play by moving their arms, but the symphonic pachyderms select the notes and rhythms on their own.

(Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Thailand's Urban Giants," October 2005, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by William Albert Allard

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