Naturalist Desmond Morris, who has studied chimpanzee artists, had his doubts about elephant painters. So he too went to Thailand to see how it was really done.
He reports that there are at least six centers with elephants who do this. Each elephant has his own mahout who trains and cares for him from childhood. While the elephant is painting the mahout stands beside him and tugs on his ear telling him to go up, down, sideways, etc.
So is it really the elephant or the mahout who is the painter?
Whatever the answer it is still pretty impressive that the elephant can translate these tugs into a recognizable picture.
Photo credit: pontman