Do elephants love Bach? The idea of elephants enjoying classical music somehow appeals to us. The gentle giants are famous for their sensitivity and sophistication, after all. But there is a truly dark side to the many videos circulating in social media, showing how the British pianist Paul Barton plays well-known classical pieces for elephants. What is happening there is unfortunately not musical therapy for traumatised pachyderms as the videos suggest, but a nasty commercial stunt – and, above all, plain abuse.
At the start of a new year we ponder what happened in the previous year, and what the new year will have in store. Which developments concerning elephants did we see in 2017, and how do they influence their chance of survival?